Safe Storytelling Toolkit

June 03, 2022

Meaning & Purpose Resiliency Self-Efficacy


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.