ORIGINAL REPORT — A special report by the Toronto Globe and Mail ambitiously tackles a national mental health crisis with bold coverage in a variety of online media that–taken as whole–provides an extraordinarily comprehensive and thought-provoking look at society’s response to mental illness.
“Breakdown: Canada’s Mental Health Crisis” is framed by a series of pieces that each blends investigative reporting on issues that matter with starkly personal human-interest stories about people who are living with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
The stories illuminate the heartbreaks and triumphs of these exemplary people as well as taking an intimate look at their families’ struggles and strength. Woven into each story are vital insights into the care systems and practitioners serving the mentally ill in Canada’s communities. The series is capped by an interview with a psychiatrist who “talks about the stigma surrounding mental illness in Canada and some essential first steps in changing things for the better.”
In addition to a host of supporting stories, the special report includes
- An audio gallery of stories told by people who are coping with mental illness
- A moderated forum where Globe and Mail readers tell their own stories about mental illness
- A “Breakdown” Facebook group
- An ongoing series of online discussions between mental health experts and Globe and Mail readers covering a dozen topics, such as stigma and doctors and addiction and mental illness
- Two concluding stories, “A 12-step program for Canada” and “There is no health without mental health,” which point toward solutions to the crisis
[Editor’s note: If you have at least 13 minutes to spend with this special report, I highly recommend the video feature included with “Some are born to endless night,” the story of a family that “works full-time at the exhausting task of keeping Peter [their son and brother] safe from himself.”
In the video–which by itself is a work of journalistic art–Peter concludes his retelling of a suicide attempt that he survived with the help of his family’s vigilance and love by saying]
I just want to say that it’s a very difficult process that people have to go through when they have a mental illness, but the biggest thing that we can do is to take it out of the hospitals, take it out of the clinics, take it out of the homes–where it’s been hidden–and bring it out into the community so that we can deal with it.
[The abridged URL for this post is http://tinyurl.com/ArmsAround.]