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The Open University launches new digital series for Mental Health Awareness Week

Open University Mental Health Week

The Open University has partnered with the BBC to co-produce a digital series to support maintaining good mental health during the pandemic lockdown. New content – featuring clips and illustrations – will be released daily to mark Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May), covering topics from toxic productivity to relationship tips.

OU academics, Will Murcott, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing and Dr Mathijs Lucassen, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health have worked closely with the team at the BBC to advise and shape the campaign, which they hope will help the public to feel supported and less isolated during this period.

Will commented:

“Supporting mental health and wellbeing is important at all times, but when life becomes more difficult it’s vital that we make time for looking after our mental health. We felt that during the COVID-19 pandemic this was especially important as we are in uncharted territory – focusing on people who may be hit especially hard by the long-term consequences of this pandemic was vital.

“In collaborating with the BBC, creating an engaging campaign with a far reaching spread across many platforms, will give people relatable stories from a range of artists and contributors which they can identify with in these challenging times.”

The schedule of content includes informative clips from experts offering guidance on using social media for ‘good purposes’, finding some positives in lockdown and using talking about emotions as a strength rather than a weakness, as well as thought-provoking, engaging illustrations on mental health problems and working from home, self-care and our coping mechanisms. The content will be shared on the BBC’s mental health hub and across the OU’s social media channels.

Dr Caroline Ogilvie, Head of Broadcast at the OU added:

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the BBC on these shorts about mental health for Facebook and Instagram. The OU and BBC partnership is all about providing public engagement and information covering a range of areas, and looking after our mental wellbeing is so important, especially at the moment.”

As part of the BBC’s mental health season, David Harewood: Pyschosis and Me, co-produced by the BBC and The Open University’s Broadcast and Partnerships team, with Dr Sarah Vicary as the academic consultant, will be repeated on BBC Two on Tuesday 19 May at 11:30pm. The award-winning one-off programme tells the story of actor, David Harewood’s personal experience of psychosis – piecing back together what happened to him and helping others better understand what it’s like.

The OU has a dedicated mental health hub on its free learning site, OpenLearn, which contains short courses, interactives and articles, in addition to specific resources related to David Harewood: Psychosis and Me.

The Open University coronavirus information page has the latest on what the OU is doing in the fight against coronavirus. Find out how research is helping the nation, access free mental health resources, free courses, and updates on how you can contact The Open University. Click here to visit


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