Scriptum writing shop in Oxford has announced a new mental health initiative. Founder of the store, Azeem Zakria, started the scheme following his own battle with depression and is now working with the local church St Michael at the North Gate to set up a weekly mental health support group for men in Oxford. 

He told Cherwell that he was looking to help those “less fortunate than himself” and hoped that the scheme will allow him to achieve “a balance between the store having a certain ambience and a safe space during the Coronavirus pandemic”. 

A spokesperson for Scriptum said: “We have been fundraising with our Good Place Notebook for a while now, and have just made a donation of £1,200 to Oxfordshire Mind. 

“Azeem will be running a men’s letter-writing group, providing tea, coffee, stationery, stamps, and a friendly place to talk in a safe and socially distanced setting. The idea is to allow people to keep in touch with their wider support networks in a low-stress way. It is specifically aimed at men as studies indicate that men are less likely both to talk about their mental health and to seek help, and at the moment the numbers we can have in each group are limited because of Covid restrictions.

“The venues we will be using may vary, but the first meeting will be on Tuesday 19th October in St Michael at the North Gate Church, and we encourage anyone who is interested to email.”