Overburdened is the work of students in the investigative reporting workshop at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

During February and March, a team of students interviewed more than 50 people in Nova Scotia and PEI, including many users of the mental health system, doctors, experts and others. A few of the patients interviewed asked not to have their names used because of the stigma of mental illness, and some asked that what they said not be reported even without attribution. We have respected those requests, however the comments and experiences of everyone we talked to informed the writing of these stories.

The students filed more than a dozen freedom-of-information requests with the PEI and Nova Scotia governments for data and documents related to the operation of the systems in the two provinces.

The mental health system is large and complex, with many moving parts and dozens of different programs and services. A comprehensive picture of the entire system would require volumes, so the decision was made to focus on the issues facing everyday users of the system in areas outside of metro Halifax.

These stories are being published as part of an unprecedented collaboration between Advocate Media Inc, Island Press Ltd, the Coast, the Walrus and the University of King’s College School of Journalism.

The King’s student team that reported and wrote the stories comprised:

  • Deputy editor: Eleanor Davidson
  • Coordinating editors and writers: Lexi Harrington and John Sandham
  • Online editor: Menglu Xu
  • Digital editor and photographer: Madi Haslam
  • Reporters: Matt Scrimshaw, Alex Myrick, Faisal Ali, Julianne Steeves, Jessica Durling
  • Researcher/reporter: Caora McKenna
  • Faculty advisor and editor-in-chief: Fred Vallance-Jones

Many thanks to Ken Partridge of Advocate Media, Paul MacNeill of Island Press, Kyle Shaw of the Coast and Harley Rustad of the Walrus.

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