Tackling mental health inequalities through storytelling this World Mental Health Day

People in Oxfordshire from different backgrounds will be encouraged to share their lived experiences as part of a new year-long storytelling campaign being launched on World Mental Health Day (Sunday 10 October) by Oxfordshire County Council and its partners.

The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World'. The COVID-19 pandemic had a tremendous impact on people’s mental health and brought to light the social, economic, and health inequalities faced by many.

The new storytelling campaign aims to give a voice to people in Oxfordshire that may face these inequalities and provide different perspectives of residents, support workers and volunteers. It will help the council and its partners to better understand mental wellbeing needs in Oxfordshire, the impact that existing work has on residents, and help shape better mental health and wellbeing support in the future.

Councillor Mark Lygo, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for public health said: “Our social circumstances, the environment where we live, learn, work and play, can all affect our mental wellbeing.

“They can enable us to get the most from life; feel connected to friends, family and neighbours and lead a healthy and happy life.

“One of our top priorities as a cabinet at Oxfordshire County Council is to tackle the inequalities faced by so many across the county. Notably, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated some of the health, social and economic inequalities that commonly lead to mental health difficulties in many people.

“But as we now begin returning to some normality, we have a real opportunity to tackle these inequalities and ensure good mental wellbeing is accessible to everybody. Storytelling allows us to learn from another person’s experience and it can shape, strengthen or challenge our opinions and values.”

Organisations supported by Arts at the Old Fire Station are working together to build their storytelling skills including West Oxfordshire District Council, Oxfordshire Mind, Home Start, Rethink, Oxfordshire County Council, Thames Valley Police, and Healthwatch Oxfordshire.

Find out more about what storytelling means and the impact it can have on the Health Foundation website.

More information

  • For more information on where to get help, information and support for suicide, self-harm, mental health and wellbeing go to Oxfordshire County Council website. 
  • Every Mind Matters provides advice and practical tips to help people to look after their mental health and wellbeing. Read more about it on the Every Mind Matters website. 
  • Call NHS 111 for mental health advice for adults and children from the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire 24/7 Mental Health Helpline.
  • Mental Wealth Academy provides support for 16–25-year-olds across Oxfordshire via a self-referral. Find out more on the Mental Wealth Academy website. 
  • Age UK Oxfordshire provides services for older people and their carers. Find out what support is available on the Age UK Oxfordshire website. 
  •  Anyone in Oxfordshire can call, text, or email and get free mental health support from Oxfordshire Mind. Text: 07451 277973 Call: 01865 247788 Email: info@oxfordshiremind.org.uk

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