Health

#ThriveInOxford this Mental Health Awareness Week

By Sarah Edwards

Oxford City Council will be sharing messages of advice and support to help people improve their mental wellbeing and #ThriveInOxford during Mental Health Awareness Week.

Mental Health Awareness Week is a national campaign, led by the Mental Health Foundation, which aims to find and address the sources of mental health problems.

The theme of this year’s awareness week, which runs from 8 to 14 May, is surviving or thriving. It aims to raise awareness of the difference between the two, and offer practical advice about what individuals and groups can do to support people to thrive.

To support the national campaign, Oxford City Council is working with Public Health, Oxfordshire Mind, Access Sport and Aspire on a local campaign, called #ThriveInOxford.

Every day during the campaign the City Council will share personal stories from Oxford residents about overcoming mental health challenges, managing stress or supporting wellbeing – and what practical steps people can take to #ThriveInOxford.

The City Council has created a website to signpost residents to local activities and groups that could help make a positive difference to how people feel: www.oxford.gov.uk/thriveinoxford.

Throughout the week, residents can take part in the campaign by sharing wellbeing ideas or experiences using the hashtag: #ThriveInOxford.

The City Council will also host an information fair in Bonn Square between 10am and 3pm on Thursday 11 May. People will be able to come along and find out about local activities and resources to support mental wellbeing.

Data suggests that there are more Oxford residents struggling with mental health issues now than in previous years.

In 2015/16 there were about 50,900 GP-registered patients in the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group area with depression, an increase of around 8,300 (19%) since 2014/15.

Vicki Galvin, Oxford City Council’s Sport & Physical Activity Manager, said: “It is incredibly important that people look after their mental wellbeing. Mental health is something that affects everybody.

“There are loads of great opportunities for people to improve their mental wellbeing in Oxford, including sports sessions and activities, volunteering and education opportunities, and community groups that people can get involved with.

“Unfortunately, the term ‘mental health’ has many stigmas attached to it. We hope we can challenge those stigmas during our campaign, and also support the great work carried out by our colleagues in mental health, such as Oxfordshire Mind and Aspire.”