Zines for Teens were created by local teens, with the support of mental health professionals, in the Northwest Corner to spotlight mental health and wellness topics and resources through creative expression.
The Art displayed here by the fantastic local teenage artists in the Northwest region portrays the
many mental health challenges teenagers face today, particularly since the onset of the pandemic.
Each artwork is a cover of a “zine” mini-magazine highlighting the most common mental health
The Northwest CT Chambers Leadership Program Team Group # 1, Dan Santorso from Fish
NWCT, Katie Connolly from Northwest Community Bank, Lauren Pristo from McCall Center for
Behavioral Health, Pamela Tino from Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, and Ruby Swartz from BD,
gathered together to find ways to help spread awareness of mental health services and resources
in a way that would spark teenagers’ interests. The goal was to encourage teens to seek help when
struggling and normalize conversations surrounding mental health. We discovered that teenagers
would be more willing to read and learn when other teenagers are involved.
Charles DaCunha illustrated the first cover art for Mental Wellness. Mental Wellness zine was
created as a general overview of the major illnesses associated with mental health. Charles is a
student at Shepaug Valley School in Washington. He is a 17-year-old artist specializing in digital
art and painting/drawing. He first began pursuing art when he was very young, taking oil painting
lessons from his grandmother at age 11. He often aims to create art that tells a story and sheds
light on a meaningful topic.
Alexandra Baez illustrated the second Cover art for Healthy Eating. Healthy eating is often
overlooked as a mental health illness, but it’s important to note that mental health issues can
result in teenagers overeating. Alexandra, a student at Torrington High School, perfectly creates a
zine to make healthy eating fun. She loves to write and create characters that can be considered
child-like or unorthodox. For this zine on healthy eating, she already had multiple personalities
based on food.
Jordan Elliott illustrated the third cover art for Depression and Anxiety. Depression and Anxiety are
the most common illnesses in teens. These illnesses have heightened since the changes from
social gatherings to isolation due to the pandemic. While Jordan was a great candidate to
illustrate this zine, he also struggled with his mental health, and he has been able to incorporate it
into his art. He’s found solace in his art and has put a lot of time and heart into his characters. He
makes sure each character has a small part of him. Jordan is a student at The Gilbert School in
Lastly, the fourth cover art for Suicide Prevention was illustrated by Matthew Vinisko.
Unfortunately, suicide has increased in teens since the pandemic, and this zine was essential to
add to our set of zines. Informing our teens about suicide prevention can help save a life. Matthew
is a student at Litchfield High School. As an artist, he spends a lot of time creating with the topic
of mental health in mind. His favorite subject matter is portraits, as it is the most straightforward
way to show how people are affected by mental illness. When not pursuing a realistic style, he
illustrates characters. Matt’s art is meant to express emotion and comment on major issues he’s
When printing the Zines linked below, please be sure to print at 100% size so that they will fold properly!