In order to gain a deeper understanding of my subject, I conducted primary research in the form of a survey. Asking university students directly about their experiences will allow me to ensure the information I produce is accurate and hopefully helpful. I structured my questionnaire specifically to find out if students mental health has been negatively affected by being at university, and what aspects, in particular, are causing this.
Prior to being at university, 28% of students said they rarely/never struggled with their mental health. Since being at university, this figure decreased to just 5% of students. 9% said they would always struggle with their mental health before coming to university and this increased to 21% since. 90% of respondents said they think universities should be making it more clear to students that they offer help with mental health, through means such as workshops and informative material.
According to a 2017 study by the NHS, 16.9% of young people (ages 17-19) met the criteria for at least one mental disorder. Young people (aged 16-24) were also the least likely age group to use treatment, with only 6.1% seeking care compared to 17.6% of those aged 55-64.
Research by the IPPR discovered that some universities have up to 1 in 4 students using, or waiting to use counselling services, with 94% of universities reporting an increase in demand for these services. They also found that less than 1/3 of universities have designed a specific strategy for dealing with students mental health and wellbeing, and 2/3 provide no access to NHS specialists on site.
The results from my survey and research show that there is a need for a project such as the one I have proposed. I will be using parts of the survey data to construct the topics in my zine and incorporate some of the discovered information and data into my text.
EXISTING MATERIAL & ARTIST RESEARCH
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of publications talking about mental health and wellbeing, from published magazines to unpublished zines. However, I didn’t come across anything which specifically targets students and addressed the issues which come along with attending university. The only help available for this audience is through online sites and the universities themselves. I want to make a zine which is between the glossy published magazines and the homemade Etsy booklets. Making an outcome which is informative yet still aesthetically pleasing will be challenging as it has to appeal but have a useful purpose. University handbooks can be too formal and not something anyone wants to carry with them to refer back to, which is what I want to avoid.
Vincenzo Insinna – Digital illustrations
Amrita Marino – Risograph printed zine
Polly Vadasz – iPad drawn digitally printed
Zabriskie Imperfection Booklet – Risograph printed
Fran Meneses – iPad digital illustrations