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Zines, Artists' Books, and Mental Health

Posted 03.05.18 by Allison Fischbach

"The Anxiety Alphabet" artists' book on display.

Zines are known for their grassroots and autobiographical nature, which makes them perfect of expression and information for a wide range of subjects that are often neglected by mainstream publishing - including mental health. Zines have a long history of promoting tips for maintaining mental health, resources for help, and personal stories about managing health issues.

The Decker Library's zine collection is no exception when it comes to exploration of mental health, and many of the items in our collection express the experience of living with mental health disorders and information on management and resources. At the very least, these items let those suffering know they are not alone.

Many of the creators in our Artist Book collection also deal with mental health subjects, including Clark: My Life, about a veteran suffering with suicidal ideation. Many pieces also address the prevalence of mental health issues in minority communities and the necessity of self-care for those facing marginalization and oppression.

If you are experiencing anxiety, depression or other mental health issues, there are resources available to provide support. Please reach out if you feel you need help.

MICA Student Counseling Center

National Alliance for Mental Illness
Help Line: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

Suicide Prevention Lifeline
suicidepreventionlifeline.org (Online chat function also available)
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Image Information:

Thumbnail: Zines on display, photo by Meredith Moore.
This page: The Anxiety Alphabet by Emily Jean Martin. (N 7433.4 .M375 A6 1998 Special Collections). Photo by Meredith Moore.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 65 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.

This page was last updated on 03/05/2018.