“University Makes Me Feel…” zines and Mental Health Awareness Week at WSA Library


Image 1: Exhibition poster created by Hannah Teague.


Zines offer an inexpensive, independent medium to share personal experiences, and offer support and solidarity. They can connect communities and raise the unfiltered voices of individuals who are silenced, underrepresented or who do not want to be represented by mainstream publishing. 

At the heart of zine creation and publishing is the message; zines are created in order to say something. One of the key messages of Mental Health Awareness Week (13 – 19 May) is to talk about our mental health. Making zines can be a great way to not only commit thoughts and feelings to paper, but also to facilitate discussion through the process of making itself.

In this month’s blog post, third year BA (Hons) Illustration student Hannah Teague discusses her “Distress/De-Stress” zine-making workshop and how she used her Final Major Project to improve the mental health and well-being of her fellow students.



Image 2: Cabinet from the  Distress/De-Stress zine exhibition at WSA Library curated by Hannah Teague for Mental Health Awareness Week.


Throughout my time at Winchester School of Art I have seen the effects that mental health, and high stress levels can have on students, not only by seeing it through my peers, but experiencing it myself. And so, when it came to decide what project I wanted to explore for my Final Major Project to me, it was a no brainer. Distress/De-Stress is a project which has revolved around exploring the stress that university students feel and offering solutions to help deal with it. In times of extreme stress, people often forget the things they would usually do to help deal with the emotion in a healthy and constructive way, and so in this project I wanted to help remind people what they can do to help themselves.

The zine making workshop took place on 7th March 2019 and was created and hosted by myself. The aim was to get the participants to create two zines. The first was exploring their current stress levels and was called “University Makes Me Feel…”. They were given starting points for each page, including drawing while listening to stressful music, creating new words out of stressful words, and drawing what was in their head. The second zine was much more open to the participants to explore what really made them happy. And included 3 things they could do personally which would improve their mental wellbeing.


Video: Distress / De-stress workshop. Created by Hannah Teague.


From the information this gave me it led me to create my own outcomes and has eventually lead me to create a “Calm Box” which will be on display as my final piece at the Degree Show. The Calm Box contains a card game designed to help inspire mental wellbeing, and information guide to provide you with help should you need it, and access to a prototype app which offers de-stressing solutions to university.

By exhibiting the final outcomes of the workshop during Mental Health Week (13th-19th May), I hope to show how stress really makes students feel, which will be relatable to many, but also show a form of solution to that stress, which people could make themselves if they wished.


The exhibition of zines, curated by Hannah, is on display in WSA Library until 28 May 2019. Free to view and open to all.

For more information about our collections, including our zine collection, please see our catalogue or our LibGuides page.

If you are interested in showing your work in the Library then please contact us at wsaenqs@soton.ac.uk