Cartoons present young people's view of WDHB mental health providers and services

21 September 2015

From left: WDHB-based SUPP clinician Mark Wood, UCOL graphic design student William Tongue and Balance Whanganui youth support worker Peter London
Colourful cartoons designed by UCOL student William Tongue are helping WDHB mental health staff better understand how young people view them and their mental health, and alcohol and other drugs services.
Sponsored by Balance Whanganui manager Frank Bristol, the project is being run by WDHB-based SUPP clinician Mark Wood and Balance Whanganui youth support worker Peter London who say the cartoons are achieving exactly what they’d hoped for.
“We approached UCOL to see if they had graphic design students who might be interested in designing cartoons that could help young people describe what they experienced when accessing our mental health, and alcohol and other drugs services and how that makes them feel,” Mr Wood says.
“William’s tutor identified him as ideal for the task and agreed that the cartoons could be counted as part of William’s course portfolio.
“Initially, some of our staff found the messages in the cartoons a little confronting but that’s where the value of the exercise lies,” Mr Wood says. “I think everyone appreciates that to be able to ‘walk in a young person’s shoes’ and ‘see what they see’ is a very good thing.
 “The cartoons enable us to understand what young people find intimidating when accessing our services, how they perceive the adult world and what changes we might want to make.
“William’s cartoons are very impressive. I think he’s really captured the messages he got from the young people he talked to. It’s great that that they’ve had this opportunity to talk to an artist who’s the same age as many of them. We’re very lucky to have the UCOL graphic design course in Whanganui.”
This is the third time Mr Wood has approached UCOL to see if they have students willing and able to provide artwork for WDHB projects.
The first time was for the Straight Up project which required a video and posters. The second time was for the SUPP project launched in April this year.