Oxfordshire County Council and Pegasus Theatre collaboration nominated for prestigious award


Oxfordshire County Council's innovative approach to the issue of self-harm in teenagers shortlisted for a prestigious Health and Wellbeing Award by the Royal Society for Public Health.

An Oxfordshire play tackling self-harm in teenagers has been shortlisted for a prestigious Health and Wellbeing Award by the Royal Society for Public Health.

‘Under my Skin’, commissioned by Oxfordshire County Council and produced by Pegasus Theatre, has been nominated in the Public Mental Health and Wellbeing category. The play, which was performed in front of pupils in year 8 and 9 across 27 schools in Oxfordshire, formed part of a public health initiative aiming to raise awareness of self-harm.

Self-harm is thought to affect over 1 in 10 teenagers in the UK, and an estimated 100 hospital admissions in Oxfordshire every year are due to teenage self-harm. Along with complementary lessons, ‘Under my Skin’ was designed to encourage pupils to be more open about discussing the topic with their peers and teachers, and inform them about how to access the right support.

With interest from over 500 organisations across the country, this year’s Health and Wellbeing awards have been fiercely competitive with each application undergoing a rigorous assessment from a panel of public health experts. Each shortlisted finalist has been recognised for having improved and protected the public’s health.

Hilary Hibbert-Biles, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “I am incredibly proud that our public health department has been recognised for having improved and protected people’s health in Oxfordshire.

“Self-harm can be difficult to talk about and we wanted to use ‘Under my Skin’ to help empower young people to discuss the issue openly and honestly, ensuring they know how and where to access support if they need it.”

Oxfordshire County Council is shortlisted alongside Yorkshire Ambulance Service and Livewell Southwest Festival. The winner will be announced on Thursday October 27 during the RSPH Awards at the Royal College of Surgeons, London.

‘Under my Skin’ was scripted by playwright Ali Taylor and drew on testimonies gathered by a team of young researchers who interviewed adolescents with first-hand experience of self-harm and mental health problems. The production was directed by Jonathan Lloyd and developed with the guidance of expert advisors including teachers, school health nurses, Oxfordshire County Council Public Health advisors, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and social services.