We are always looking for new ways to increase our audience. Since one key part in our philosophy behind Doll Hospital is inclusivity and accessibility, we hope to develop a broad readership, far and wide across the globe (and beyond?). We also look to reach anyone who might enjoy, be comforted, or helped by the stories our journal envelops. Doll Hospital is a shelter and a safe space for all.
If you own or work for a publication and wish to feature Doll Hospital or collaborate in a different way: any added visibility would help us reach these goals, and we are very excited to talk to you! Hop over to our support page or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond to you as soon as possible.
In the meantime, you can already read a few earlier press clippings and interviews, after this note from our much too humble Editor-in-Chief!
Whilst I’m honoured and overwhelmed by all the wonderful opportunities I’ve had to talk about Doll Hospital, I’d like to emphasize that this is a collective publication and I’d encourage future press to reach out to other members of staff who have helped make this project a reality and our large team of contributors who have so many stories to tell. Thank you!
Now on to some excerpts followed with links to full articles about Doll Hospital in the press.
The defiant mental health zine made by and for survivors.
There’s nothing much out there like Doll Hospital. It’s an art and literature mental health journal which encourages an intersectional focus. Rooted in self-advocacy, it centres the voices of those who are largely unheard in the mainstream narrative of mental health. It aims to be an alternative and does an excellent job of it. It takes submission from anyone who has experienced mental health illness firsthand and wants to talk about it in their own words and on their own terms.
“One of the first questions I get asked is if this project is coming from my own personal experience, and the answer is yes absolutely! I have struggled with mental health issues and suicidal ideation since childhood, complemented with my neurovariance, which when combined can make functioning a bit difficult sometimes.
Propelled by all these mixed up feelings I posted another tweet, not another weird self deprecating suicide note, but a call for submissions, to see if any of my followers would be maybe interested in contributing to a mental health zine, a vague sort of idea which I expanded on in a blog post, where I wrote:
‘What if I could keep the rad ethos of community and creativity of zine culture but create something that can reach more people than a small circle of tumblr and twitter? People who might not necessarily know what a zine is but know what it’s like to stop breathing on the way to class, to stop eating, to want it to end, but to want, to not want, to feel like this?'”
“The founder and editor, Bethany Rose Lamont, is kind of my hero. She writes openly and honestly about mental illness and her own struggles, and doesn’t pull punches. It’s taken a long time for me to admit my own struggles with depression, and I am inspired to see young women not only sharing, but creating outlets for everyone to share.”
“I especially want our readers to know that you don’t need to have a corny head shot and a blue tick on your Twitter to talk about your experiences; you don’t need to be “over” your mental illness to talk about your mental illness. You don’t need a PhD in psychology to speak with authority. You don’t need to sound like some Better Call Saul style Ted Talk dude for your voice to matter. It already does. And we’re listening.”
“Mental health support continues to fail the most vulnerable in our society, coupled with the outrageous treatment of disabled people under austerity measures. Any improvements, particularly in terms of funding is surely a good thing, but we need to examine how this change is carried out, who benefits and how. After all, when creating ‘mental health’ awareness campaigns it is easy to slip into self serving PR that offers little to those truly suffering. In this sense, I do not think that mental health has been neglected exactly, rather grotesquely misrepresented and mishandled.”
“People suffering with their mental health are regarded as unreliable, unstable, and even frightening; the thing that makes us ‘qualified’ to discuss this subject (as in we have to deal with this stuff everyday) is the very thing that makes people uncomfortable about letting us speak. How can we tell our experiences accurately when we are regarded as such unreliable narrators? I think this is foolishness, all individuals are, by their nature, unreliable, and allowing people, especially women, to discuss their first hand experiences openly, without feeling like they need to provide a ton of footnotes to show it’s true, is the most powerful thing we can do to challenge mental health stigma.”
“As someone with chronic mental health stuff I often feel very lonely and isolated so to see Doll Hospital reaching so many people…well it means a lot to me.”
“After being told (on more than occasion) that I needed to stop posting on Twitter about my suicidal ideation, as it was “starting to freak people out,” I posted something else instead, a call for submissions for a zine on mental health.”
“Unlike those certain areas of Tumblr that treat mental health as a fashion statement or an aesthetic accessory. Bethany brings you her truth. Her latest post: Suicide in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction really resonated with me, but more than anything I found her persistence is the quality that inspires me the most. I appreciate her go-getter attitude even when its not always easy to be so, each time she delivers a perfect balance between wit and sincerity. I admire Bethany’s promotion of the work of people of colour (particularly women), the trans community and rejection of a purely cisgendered narrative. She uses her platforms to raise issues in our cultural narrative and is all the more badass for doing it!”
When I saw that there was an Issue Two in the works, I ardently believed this was something I had to be a part of. I never had a writing of mine published in an anthology before, especially not one that focused on the disabled experience. I wanted my writing to showcase my unique story as a disabled woman of color, especially since DHJ is adamant about diversity, particularly the voices of disabled people of color. Working on this submission presented a creative challenge I was determined to achieve; not only for myself, but for other disabled Black women and non-Black disabled women of color who could relate to my plight.
Mental health coverage certainly isn’t hard to come by, but mainstream journalism, Lamont argues, tends to focus on neat, upbeat success stories without giving a voice to people struggling with ongoing challenges. Doll Hospital pushes past that in a way that allows people to reclaim ownership of their own messy narratives.
Doll Hospital Journal has no precedent like it: it is created completely by and for people with mental health struggles, and we think that’s just how it should be. After all, who might understand the nuances of a sick psyche better than one who suffers it?
What, to you, would be the ideal culture in which mental health is treated?
I think we need to nurture a culture where people struggling with mental health are able to advocate for themselves, a culture where they are listened to and believed. I have heard so many stories of doctors dismissing or undermining patients, and one bad experience may prevent someone from getting the help they need in the future—and that’s wrong. This obviously goes both ways, and I’d like to see a future where the relationship between doctors and mental health patients is not one of fear and frustration.
What would you say to someone suffering mental illness?
It doesn’t get better, you don’t get stronger, but you survive, you survive and oh my god that’s amazing.
This project is important because mental illness is one of those invisible topics that need to be brought up to the surface in order to make some real change happen. But not in that romantic, almost fetishised portrayal of the “sad white girl” which has been popularised in fiction: mental illness isn’t glamourous, it isn’t a fashion accessory and it shouldn’t be used to make a character more interesting because of lack of real depth. It is a struggle, it is exhausting, it is real and it isn’t pretty; which is why creating a safe, supporting and aware environment is so important.
Doll Hospital is a bi-annual art and literature journal on mental health. Made by people with mental health issues, for people with mental health issues, it serves as a paper and glue safe-haven from the toxicity of online comments, something to stick in your back pocket and flick through on those days when just breathing can feel like an accomplishment. It’s intersectional – not in some box-ticking, quota-filling way – but because mental health is tied to race, as it is to class, to gender, to sexuality, to disability and just because you don’t look like something out of The Virgin Suicides doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a voice.
This submission-based art and literature journal ventures into overlooked and trigger-warning worthy experiences of mental health. Founded in 2014, their second issue came out last December, including themes like mental health within women’s prisons, the intersection between mental health and physical disability and the stigma of mental health in Muslim society. As founder Bethany Lamont puts it: “No one was publishing the stories me and my loved ones needed to hear so it was like, why not do it ourselves?”
Doll Hospital itself is something quite new, where the mentally ill, and more importantly minorities within the mentally ill community are not only encouraged to have a voice, but it is one of the journal’s main aims.
It packages and puts ahead the experiences and thoughts of those who are not neurotypical, and does it through colourful illustrations and the use of comics. Lamont is a “huge fan of using images, artwork and other playful forms… often messy subjects require unconventional mediums.”
In all, Doll Hospital is a beautifully crafted and gorgeous outlet for and by the mentally ill community, with it’s mix of written word and illustration. It’s a treat for the eyes and the mind.
Les clichés autour des maladies mentales ont la vie dure. Les mots employés pour les décrire ne sont pas toujours les bons, et rares sont celles et ceux à en parler en connaissance de cause. Pour donner libre cours à des spécialistes et offrir à des personnes atteintes de troubles mentaux un espace de parole, Bethany Rose Lamont a créé le Doll Hospital Journal. Un magazine bisannuel atypique et esthétique, dont chacune des pages s’ouvre sur la tolérance.
No matter where you come from, mental health is the one thing that affects us all. But most of us are sick of only seeing the typical tortured male eccentric and white manic pixie dream girl. Doll Hospital aims to move past these stereotypes, giving a voice to those who have felt silenced. Combining touching comics and literary mediums, Bethany Rose Lamont’s journal has shed some light on far-reaching mental health topics in the realms of women’s prisons, Muslim society and disability.
Doll Hospital: Issue 2, edited by Bethany Rose Lamont★★★★★
Everything is written clearly, honestly, and relatably. Doll Hospital is a comforting and important resource for those struggling with mental health issues and might not find narratives (especially to do with healing or coping) similar to this elsewhere. Also, the artwork featured and the layout of the book is beautiful.
The magic of Doll Hospital is situated in its polyvocality. Doll Hospital doesn’t propose a single construct as ‘truth’, instead it allows for a multitude of voices to sing out their own tunes, loud and proud. Doll Hospital is unafraid and holds its head up high as it speaks out in a variety of voices. Its energy is infectious, its topics and tone important. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
We’re not some kind of feel good project, we don’t have an agenda or a singular mission. Doll Hospital is just one space to explore mental health in a culture that limits mental health dialogue in so many different ways. I just want to cultivate a pressure free space to explore mental health narratives and experiences that are regarded as too shameful and marginal to merit mainstream reflection.
I created Doll Hospital as I wanted to have a space to thoughtfully and creatively explore the contradictions of mental illness and mental health in all its complexities, centring intersecting oppressions and experiences beyond traditional models of Western medicine to open up broader conversations on issues around existing under oppression such as colonisation, self image, class inequality and more.”
“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.”
“I just want readers of Doll Hospital to feel quiet and calm and okay for a little bit I think…to feel a little less alone, to know that they’re not the weirdest person on the planet, that even if their survival is not pretty and their CV is not impressive that they’re okay, that someone is listening, that the space they inhabit is valued and their voice is heard. Or maybe just for them to see a comic that makes them smile or a story that brings them comfort. The world is very lonely, being alive is very lonely, small bits of joy or small moments of connection are something to strive for.”