Ambition Four: Mental health and wellbeing

Ambition Four: Mental health and wellbeing

We want everyone to recognise the critical importance of being active for their mental health and wellbeing

What's the need?

  • In 2020/21 there were 79,244 patients (aged 18 or over) registered with an Oxfordshire GP practice who had a diagnosis of depression. This is equivalent to 1 out of every 8 of registered patients and is higher than the national average
  • 14% of Oxfordshire's adults (approximately 1 out of every 7) report having a common mental health condition.
  • 16,000 young people in Oxfordshire are estimated to have a mental health disorder.
  • In 2020/21 6970 referrals young people had an appointment with child and adolescent mental health services in Oxfordshire. There has been an 60-80% (depending on age group) increase in referrals to CAMHS since 2016.

Our agreed priority areas

  • We will work closely with schools to embed physical activity as an enabler to reduce anxiety and depression
  • We will increase awareness of the importance of physical activity across the mental health workforce through ramping up training and enabling others to deliver training
  • We will focus on the 10 highest priority neighbourhoods to encourage residents to walk more for their mental health and wellbeing

Actions we are taking together

Over the next two years, we will take the following actions:

  • Expand programmes such as Boxing for Wellbeing within schools as well as addressing mental health and exam stress through the redesigned School Games
  • Expand and cascade the Active Medicine programme, so that 2,000 people working with residents at greatest risk of inactivity are trained in understanding the importance of physical activity for mental health and wellbeing
  • Provide mental health walks and walking groups in the 10 highest priority neighbourhoods in Oxfordshire
  • Create a focus group of people with lived experience of mental health issues, to better understand the barriers and challenges to physical activity

Get Involved

Everyone has a part to play in helping people to improve their mental health and wellbeing through being active. When we work together, small actions make a big difference.

If you can help us towards any of these actions, or would like to find out more, please contact Ellen Allsop at Oxfordshire Mind on or Natalie Davis at Active Oxfordshire on

Read the full ambition report