Five magazines that speak openly on mental health

by Grace Wang in September 2016
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Coverage of mental health in the mainstream media tends towards the sensationalised; think stats about alarming suicide rates, or stories of ‘extreme OCD’. Almost everyone is affected by mental health issues in one way or another, but by radicalising the subject it becomes ever more taboo and unrelatable.

And in an age when traditional boundaries of gender, sex and societal roles are becoming more fluid, talking about mental health as a binary — you are either ‘sane’ or ‘insane’ — seems archaic and just inaccurate.

Independent magazines have long presented an alternative to mainstream media, so it’s not surprising to see that a group of titles are responding to the status quo and offering a quiet, private, tangible sanctuary for readers interested in mental health issues.

The following are five titles that caught our eye recently for talking about mental health in a more open and diverse way.

1. Doll Hospital magazine

“We believe print is the best medium for this project — a refuge from toxic comment sections and constant line skipping. Something tangible to slip in your book bag and read on the bus. Something still, something quiet, something just for you.”

Bethany Rose Lamont is a self-claimed ‘mentally ill gal’, and Doll Hospital, which she founded, is packed with endearing, personal stories and interviews on mental health. From the diary log of an inmate, to dealing with being called ‘attention seeking’ by the NHS, it will have you gripping its pages, while laughing out loud at the hilariously accurate illustrations.

2. Anxy magazine

“Let’s look at our inner worlds — the personal struggles, the fears that fool us into believing that the rest of the world is normal. A magazine to focus on real conversations around thoughts, feelings, emotions in our heads.”

Recently launched on Kickstarter, this is the effort of one co-founder of Matter, senior editors of Medium, contributors to WIRED and more. Anxy magazine is clear on one thing: this will not be a self-help manual. Instead, this fresh look mental health wants to eliminate the stigma around feeling sad and showing our vulnerabilities.

3. Nous magazine

“I’m just hoping that it encourages people to talk about their own problems and listen to other people in a more open-minded way…at the moment I think the topic of mental illness is still a bit scary for a lot of people, but it doesn’t need to be like that.”

We have been following Nous magazine for while now, the beautiful riso printed publication focused on the modern mind and empathetic thinking. We love the way they make topics surrounding mental health accessible and not so overwhelming.

4. Ladybeard magazine

“We have drawn a strict dividing line between the mad and the sane. We try to live on the ‘right’ side of the binary, while really, most of us occupy the blurred space in between. The Mind issue aims to challenge our expectations for life by telling stories that embrace this complexity.”

Sent our to Stack subscribers this month, this hefty volume of fresh, feminist publishing is filled with insightful, surprising reading on the mind. Expect thought pieces on anxiety, discussions on living with suicidal ideas, photo series of transformed mental institutions, and much more.

5. The Stress Report

“Forget the old concept of working harder. It makes us less creative, less inspiring to be around, less porductive. And there is a better way of working. You can make Stress work for you — Honestly, you can.”

This one is perhaps for the more analytical mind. With statistics-backed evidence and practical advice on how to work better, it’s the perfect tool for those trying to convince colleagues that they are working too much, and that it is damaging to their health and making them more unproductive.

Want more magazine roundups? See our favourites in fashion, photography, design, and more

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