LANCASTER University and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival are joining forces to organize an event directed toward supporting learners’ mental health.

This free online event, taking place Tuesday, June 28, is tailored for all colleagues at schools who would like to be better equipped with creative resources and methods that can help learners’ wellbeing, and offers one way of engaging young people with this important aspect of their lives.  

The event is inspired by the publication of Lancaster University's graphic novel 'Things & the Mind', co-created by Dr Nataša Lacković from the Department of Educational Research, Andi Setiawan and Lancaster University students.

It offers nine different stories told by the students about their mental health experiences.

The stories explore the ways in which students experience their wellbeing in relation to the environment and objects that surround them.

The associated interactive and digital tool 'Things & the Mind', co-created by Dr Lacković and Dr Brewster with a team of web developers, will be also available for browsing and application.

Dr Nataša Lacković said: "This is, we believe, the first graphic novel in English that is co-developed with a group of students about their mental health.

 "It will speak volumes to many readers through the nuances of visual communication, comments, reflections, and memories.

"Nine students who have had prior and/or have ongoing struggles with wellbeing and mental health provided scenarios for the novel. They shared their subjective accounts of how everyday 'matter' affected or affect their wellbeing."

The launch event will introduce teachers to the online and printable resources designed to offer possibilities for learners’ interactions with the graphic novel. It will also act as an opportunity for teacher feedback and conversation in terms of how the resource could be used with secondary school learners.

Practical advice on how comics and visual communication can support student wellbeing will also be included.