DoS were contacted a couple of weeks ago by writer Cristiana Bedei from Dazed and Confused digital site Dazed Digital. She has written an article about the importance of mental health zines, featuring YOU!
Bedei writes: At the intersection of self-advocacy and grassroots activism, zines and independent magazines have become an increasingly popular resource to find alternative narratives of mental health experiences. Long before Tumblr communities and awareness-raising hashtags, DIY press has been filling the gaps of mainstream media, infiltrating voices and inputs from the blind spot.”
Bedei asked us a couple of questions about the zine – how and why it started and the impact of it. The full write up of our response to two questions is below, the article that appears on the Dazed website is here )
Great work again everyone involved, it’s amazing to have your words and hard work more widely read!
How was this zine born?
The zine was born out of the act of suicide. Personal deliberation and the actual realisation of it when a friend took their life. I wasn’t a close friend of Leki, just a friend of a friend, but his suicide brought about a lot of contemplation and talking about depression amongst my close friends. It felt personally very close to home. People really pulled together and talked about how it affected them. I became aware of the statistic that suicide is one of the biggest cause of death for young men in the UK. I also became aware of an amazing charity that I was unaware of called CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) their campaigning includes a zine for men suffering with mental health problems that can lead to suicide.
In full support I wanted to follow suit and support a forum for women, as a means of parity. 90% of suicide is due to some form of mental health problem, some of which are higher in women. Arguably, these statistics may be higher due to the theory that women may be more likely to seek help, but the need to raise awareness and eliminate stigma is valid. Not everyone is likely to talk, or able to get help.
How do you think it can help raising awareness of mental health?
It’s tricky to say whether it raises awareness yet, the response has been positive in Sheffield so far, and the participants and followers are increasing. I’ve had comments about the title, it seems to get people’s attention – I was hoping to just confront a word that people can be sensitive about. The more we do things as community the more chance that it might be seen by someone who could find it helpful. From my own experience, personal submissions to the zine are positive and cathartic process. People also can submit anonymously so it’s a forum to talk about whatever they want without having to write their name Also waiting lists can be long for proper mental health care. The workshops that support the making of the zine are a means of peer support in a non-hierarchical environment. It’s good to share experiences or just get together to talk with no experts present.