Mental health remains a stigma and a problem that is not going to disappear. It affects the lives of people around the world. Especially young people, who often experience difficulties within themselves and struggle with mental health issues. It is important to talk about this in a broader context and to raise awareness. Poor mental health weakens our body both physically and mentally, and has a significant impact on how we live. Rising stress, social pressure, and the pursuit of good performance in university studies have a strong impact on the lives of students.
Therefore, it is always a great pleasure to find projects that deal with mental health difficulties and raise awareness of this social issue. One of these is Studentscare, a critical design project produced by graphic duo Martin Kyjovský and Klára Dvorská, which precisely focuses on the mental health of students. Specifically, students at Prague universities. This was done as a semester project in the graphic design and visual communication studio at UMPRUM in Prague.
The authors contacted more than 50 universities, public and private, to enquire whether they provide counselling for their students or if the students have an opportunity to visit a psychologist or psychiatrist externally. In addition, they asked whether the individual universities organise seminars, lectures or any form of education on mental health. The final result of this collaboration was the website studentcare.site, where you can find the data that was collected and a summary of the results. In addition, the visuals are designed using vivid colours. This makes for a pleasant and readily understandable user experience.
The website offers useful information, immediate and long-term assistance, and a register of counselling centres for students. There’s also a manifesto, composed by Kyjovský and Dvorská, which points to a missing component in the education system — support for students with mental health problems. This website and the collected data serve as a potential tool for other educational institutions to adopt. Universities can use this research and expand on it with newer issues or make suggestions for improvement.
Nowadays, there is more talk about mental health, and psychological issues are no longer taboo. And that’s good news for our society, but there’s still so much room for improvement. The normalisation of mental health should be a priority in educational institutions and incorporated int school policy. This could help young people through difficult times. When these institutions empower students with knowledge about mental health and encourage dialogue, the students will be able to get the help they need. Mental and physical health go hand in hand, and educational institutions must be one of the first to reach out.