Positive mental health image library

Changing how people see positive mental health

Our research has shown that people often feel like that they can’t relate to the images that the media use when they talk about the things that can help our mental health. We want to change that.

We’ve launched a freely-available library of images that represent real people looking after their mental health. 

The themes covered in our image library are: 

  • Movement
  • Nature
  • Connection
  • The workplace
  • Creativity

Visit the image library

Two men playing video games

What the research showed

We asked people how they felt about images used for positive news stories about mental health. These are the things they told us mattered to them:

Thumbnail of positive mental health images

What people liked:

  • Diversity: of age, gender, body shape, ethnicity and physical ability.
  • A range of activities: not just vigorous exercise, yoga or meditation.
  • Human connection: people connecting with those around them is important, but it’s also OK to show people being happy on their own.
  • Realistic: everyday clothing, genuine positive expressions, lived-in backgrounds.
  • Nature: including elements of our natural environment but ensuring that it feels accessible.
Thumbnail images of someone doing yoga at sunset, sitting with their head in their hands and reading outdoors

What people disliked:

  • Obviously posed images: people looking immaculately groomed, unnatural poses, fake or overly positive facial expressions.
  • Financially unrelatable: the latest technology, swanky gyms or show-home style backgrounds.
  • Stereotypes: not everyone practices mindfulness in a forest at sunrise.
  • Inaccessible activities: showing things which are only accessible to a few and would exclude people from certain backgrounds.

Overall, remember that good mental health is not about achieving perfection – positive well-being can be achieved in different ways, in different places, by different people.

Positive Image Library competition

We launched a competition to encourage image entries of real people doing the positive things we know can benefit mental health. Our shortlist was judged by OPEN and we're pleased to share the winners. 

Overall winner

Hayley Borrett

A woman walking a dog as the sun goes down - positive image library
View image


Amy Ireland

Woman dancing in the street - positive image library
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Luwi Masumba

Nurse with PPE
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Angus Davidson

Ramblers - positive image library winner
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Emma Jeffries

A young child and a dog looking at the sea - positive image library
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Honor Allen

Person walking in a park
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Visit the positive mental health image library

View our freely-available library of images that represent real people looking after their mental health.
Visit the image library
Running child against backlit background
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