Students living with mental health issues have been provided with a platform to tell their stories in the form of a new magazine.
The Converge scheme was developed from a collaboration between York St John University and the National Health Service. The aim is to provide real life experiences to students who are on the programme.
From this lecturers and students from the university have teamed together to create a magazine called ‘J.O.Y’. This allows Converge students to contribute and help with the production and development.
Jonathan Brown, a Journalism lecturer at the university developed the concept of ‘J.O.Y’ “Converge aims to give students a voice. It allows them to reach an audience and to develop their journalistic and story telling skills in a supported yet real-world setting.”
Students can also gain key skills such as creativity and employability following their involvement.
A big factor in the magazines production is the ethos of the process. The team pride themselves on the experience being ‘ethical and sustainable, inclusive and positive’ to name a few.
Third year journalism student and content creator for the magazine, Madeline Smith explained, “I think Converge is a brilliant initiative, it opens up a creative space for people that wouldn’t necessarily have access to resources that allow for them to engage in meaningful activities. The magazine course that we are part of is a really great way to encourage Converge students to be creative and express things in a way they might not otherwise be able to.”
The magazine is based in York, however incorporates stories from all around the world. If a story is of interest to the writer then it will be included.
Madeline explains “It’s also a really excellent platform for people to raise issues that might otherwise go unacknowledged; as Converge exists as a space for people with mental health issues, the magazine has provided some of the students with a way to voice concerns they have about things that often go unrecognised by others.”
With this in mind, the audience the group is aiming for is vast. Jonathan exaggerated the point that the magazine is targeting “Anyone- all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Mental health issues do not discriminate.”
Currently, the magazine is in the process for its first publication. The aim is to distribute the free physical copy through the NHS, community and university allowing many people to pick up a copy.