Storytelling approaches in mental health


What would happen if people were given the time and space to tell their story? Not just their story of a recent crisis, but as much of their story as they wanted to tell. Could this help us support people better and improve our understanding of mental health?

My Story: Our Future, is a project about storytelling and living with psychosis from the McPin Foundation. Four years ago, they set out to hear people’s stories to help understand what factors influenced people’s mental health with the hope that by giving people a chance to tell their story on their own terms, they could be better supported.

Through the role of storytelling, it was found that the way people told their stories, in their own words, enabled a better understanding of the most important things about their lives, not just about people’s experiences of psychosis, but also about the events and situations that may have led them to become unwell in the first place, and the context in which they were trying to recover.

The value of a storytelling approach can be a powerful tool in communicating and building trust to help establish effective relationships in services. Below are a range of resources which practitioners could try out, either in their teams or with the people they support.


The power of storytelling and how it can be used in mental health services Webinar

Guides and reports

MSOF project report – Insight that looks beyond people’s experience as a ‘service user’ or ‘carer’ setting out to hear people’s life stories to help identify and understand important events or experiences which have had an impact on their mental health. Focussing on early intervention in psychosis services, early detection and treatment of symptoms.

  • MOSF flipbook

Storytelling resource pack for practitioners working in mental healthcare – Practical tools on the story telling approach including environment setting, being a good listener, planning practical action and safeguarding.

  • Storytelling resource pack flipbook

Storytelling workbook for people using mental health services – Guided tool to help you tell your story and record information using timelines, thinking in pictures, tree of life and six part story methods.

  • Storytelling tools

Additional resources