Storying Sheffield

Storying & Mental Health


Storying Sheffield has worked in various ways with people who live with mental health problems, and organisations offering support or care. The project began with an exclusive focus on mental health. It has since grown to encompass a wider range of partners with a diverse range of initiatives, but we still work regularly in a variety of mental health contexts.

Examples of our work in mental health include:

  • The Storying Sheffield module at the University of Sheffield, in which undergraduate students from the School of English study and work alongside people with experience of mental health problems to learn about and then produce narrative representations of people’s lives and experiences.
  • The Storying Sheffield workshops and courses run at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust (SHSC), in which people with lived experience lead workshops in narrative and representation for other users of mental health services. These activities form part of the Recovery Education programmes provided by SHSC.
  • We have also led narrative workshops for people with learning disabilities, and students taking the Storying Sheffield module have worked with people with dementia, and other neurological conditions.
  • The Narrative Masterclass Programmes for University of Sheffield medical students considering specialising in psychiatry: People with lived experience of mental health problems lead these 5 week courses at the University, and also take part alongside medical students.
  • Film stories of recovery: a project in which in-depth interviews were undertaken with people who were experiencing mental health difficulties about opportunities and barriers to ‘recovery’, with the resulting films being screened at conferences and events for senior NHS clinicians and managers.
  • Resources for improving the treatment of long term depression. This project worked with a group of people who had lived with serious depression for many years to generate stories of their lives and identities to be used in the training of clinicians.
  • Narrative in high-security psychiatric hospitals. The project worked with a special unit for men inside a high secure hospital to produce life stories which were showcased in an exhibition and publication.
  • Workshops for professionals working in child protection. Storying Sheffield runs workshops for a range of organisations including Social work teams, Children’s Safeguarding Boards, CAFCASS, and others. Workshops use narrative methods to help professionals develop resilience and build understandings of the effects of child abuse and neglect.
  • Digital mental health. Storying Sheffield is working with SHSC and Recovery Enterprises to build a major new digital resource for the Sheffield region, which will include stories in a variety of forms and media.
  • Consultancy to NHS Trusts on building and enhancing service-user engagement in developing strategy and policy, and improving services and practice.
  • We regularly work with CAST (Creative Arts Support Team), a peer-led arts project, to help them stage exhibitions and events.

For more information please contact Brendan Stone.

Brendan Stone, the director of Storying Sheffield, has also led or contributed to several other mental health initiatives including enhancing academic and personal support for students with complex mental health needs, and developing new ways of managing mental health in the workplace.