People share experiences to mark World Mental Health Day

Mental health staff, volunteers and residents have come together to share their experiences of mental health services in Oxfordshire over the past year to mark World Mental Health Day (10 October).

Oxfordshire County Council, in collaboration with Arts at The Old Fire Station and partners Achieve Oxfordshire, Home-Start Oxford, Healthwatch Oxfordshire, West Oxfordshire District Council and Rethink Mental Illness, completed a year-long project collecting five stories from people involved with mental wellbeing support.

To mark World Mental Health Day, the council will share these stories and a report showcasing initial learning from the project. These stories will help to better understand residents' needs by hearing about their experiences in their own words and help shape and improve  support in the future.

Councillor Mark Lygo, Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health and Inequalities, said: “Our social circumstances and the environment where we live, learn, work and play can all affect our mental wellbeing.

“Storytelling allows us to learn from the experience of others, and it can shape, strengthen or challenge our opinions and values.

“I really enjoyed listening and engaging in the conversations around the stories. They demonstrated a human touch, showing the importance of listening at a grassroots level and why supporting early intervention is key to our wellbeing.”

The themes that emerged from the storytelling included the importance of listening, kindness, compassion and self-love, using everyday language, meeting basic needs and lived experience.

The report and stories are available on the Old Fire Station 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’s mental wellbeing webpage.
  • There are also a number of other local and national services available for support.
  • NHS 111 - Get free mental health advice and support from trained NHS advisers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Anyone concerned about their mental health, or that of a loved one, can call the 24/7 NHS Mental Health Helpline on 111.
  • 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
  • Samaritans - Anybody who feels like they are struggling to cope, or just need to talk to someone, can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123
  • Oxfordshire Mind - call, text, or email and get free mental health support Text: 07451 277973 Call: 01865 247788 Email: info@oxfordshiremind.org.uk
  • Home Start Oxford provides free, confidential support for families with at least one child under the age of 5 in Oxford, and the centre and west of the county
  • Achieve Oxfordshire provides free weight loss programmes and ongoing support to help you achieve healthy weight loss
  • Rethink Mental Illness for family and friends supporting somebody with a mental health problem offering one to one sessions and groups. Email: oxfordshirecarers@rethink.org.

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