Safe Storytelling Toolkit
Meaning & Purpose Resiliency Self-Efficacy
WHO’S IT FOR?
People who want to tell their mental health stories
A collection of guidelines and recommendations to be used for the creation and sharing of stories focusing on mental wellbeing.
The Safe Storytelling Toolkit is a collection of guidelines and recommendations to be used for the creation and sharing of stories focusing on mental wellbeing. This resource is meant to highlight the power of storytelling and it’s potential to be a tool against stigmatization in society. Through sharing these types of narratives, a stronger sense of understanding and empathy can be nurtured towards those who suffer from mental illness or who struggle with their mental health. The Safe Storytelling Toolkit serves to help bring these concepts to life within a story while being cautious of any potentially negative repercussions they could have.
In this toolkit, you’ll find content on:
- Audience: Decide on a target audience, and consider the implications that will have on what subject matter is appropriate, what the focus should be, and what structure would be most beneficial.
- Tone: Find the tone of the story, and examine the impact it will have, both on the narrative itself and on the message it conveys.
- Themes: Choose the thematic significance of the story, and what themes it should portray. Analyze how these ideas may affect others, individually and societally.
- Research: Ensure any facts or details presented within the story are accurate and true to life. If the story is fictional and not based on personal experience, research on first hand information and explanations from others should form the basis of how these experiences are portrayed.
- Representation: Look at how mental illness and other stigmatized or marginalized experiences are represented. Ensure that representation is accurate and positive.
- Guidelines: Review common errors and mistakes made in creating stories focusing on mental health and other sensitive subjects.
- Peer Review: Gain feedback from others with insight or experience in the topics the story covers. Use their input to outline any changes to be made.
- Content Warnings: Layout any content within the story that could be potentially harmful or damaging for a person to hear. Pick a strategy for how to warn and prepare an audience for them.
- Support: Provide resources and support systems for both the storyteller during their writing process and their audience after experiencing the story.
Iylah is an undergraduate student at King’s University pursuing an Honors double major in Psychology and Sexuality Studies. They joined MINDS in 2019 to work on the Safe Storytelling Toolkit, and now also lead the Mental Wellness Profile and Queer in the Classroom initiatives. Outside of work, they are passionate about volunteering, writing, and advocacy.
Jasmine is an incoming medical student at McMaster University who is passionate about advocating for culturally-safe mental health systems. Her research with Indigenous mental health services has outlined this disparity within the current mental health system. Jasmine strives to work with marginalized communities to promotes equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization.
Melissa believes foremost in empathy and compassion for those in the world around us. Her work centralizes around power inequality and authentic communication. She strive to foster safe spaces where people can learn from and care for each other in a holistic way. Outside her work, she is a storyteller, archer, tea-lover, feminist, writer, and gamer.
Renee is passionate and accomplished researcher whose focuses on general health and well-being, with an emphasis on mental health related to positive psychological practices and patterns of interpersonal behaviour. She was most recently a Mitacs Elevate Program Postdoctoral Fellow, Western University and graduated with her PhD in Social Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier.