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IN THE SHADOWS: A Report on Global Mental Health

Goal $25,000

Raised $887

0 days left

Project Ended

IN THE SHADOWS: A Report on Global Mental Health

Our team is now in the field in India, Jordan, Benin and Togo. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the project. Donations remain open. If you’d like to make a contribution please click fund. Thank you again.

Project Description

While diseases like AIDS, malaria and Ebola get most of the global health headlines, mental illness is actually the leading cause of disability worldwide, and it remains one of the world’s most neglected diseases. The numbers are staggering. Depression is the third leading cause of disease in the world, with more than a million people dying of suicide every year. Every seven seconds, someone is diagnosed with dementia. Mental illness surpasses cancer and heart disease, making up 14% of the disease in the world.

Global mental health remains one of the most neglected stories in the world.

UBC’s Emmy Award-winning Global Reporting Centre would like to change that, by sending teams of journalists to Africa, Asia and the Middle East, to document efforts to address this largely hidden health crisis. To do this, we need your help. Please make a donation to support the project today.

Donors will be recognized in the credits of the project:


Donations of $1000 or more


Donations of $250 or more


Donations of $100 or more


Donations of $25 or more

If you would prefer to make an anonymous donation, please use this link. Note that your donation will not be reflected in the total.

The Story

The vast majority of people with mental illness – two thirds –never receive treatment, because countries simply don’t have the resources to help them. In many low-income countries, there’s an average of just one psychiatrist for every 2 million citizens. Twenty per cent of countries don’t even have common anti-depressants, antipsychotics or antiepileptic medications in hospitals or clinics.

In many societies, mentally ill people are more likely to face violence and discrimination, with patients often seen as possessed by spirits and shunned in traditional societies. Religious leaders have been known to tie those with schizophrenia to trees and flog them in order to exorcise demons. The abusive use of electroshock therapy, administered without anesthesia, is still common in psychiatric institutions all over the world.

Resourceful health professionals, and in some cases mental health patients themselves, have taken on the challenge to provide care in interesting ways. There are now several new and innovative programs that appear to be working and expanding.

Our team will produce a multimedia project focused not only on problems, but also solutions. The stories will be distributed on multiple platforms and through partnerships with major news organizations.

Please support our project to help bring this hidden crisis out of the shadows.

The Need

The $150,000 budget for an initial reporting trip is fully funded, through a grant from the Mindset Social Innovation Foundation. We are trying to raise an additional $25,000, so we can address three pillar of the GRC:

Knowledge-Based Reporting – We would like to bring physicians with us into the field, to help deepen our reporting on this challenging topic.

Local Partners – The GRC is challenging the norms of “foreign” correspondents parachuting in and hiring up local “fixers.” We, therefore, want to work with local journalists to partner on this long-term reporting project.

Long-Term Reporting – We want to continue reporting on this complex issue for a long period of time, tracking the progress of projects and patients all over the world.

You are an important part in telling this story. Thank you for your support.

Group Info

“In The Shadows” will produce the high-impact journalism people have come to expect from the Global Reporting Centre’s student-run International Reporting Program. For examples of our past projects please visit our website, where you will find our Emmy award-winning documentary “Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground,” the award-winning multimedia projects “CUT” the “Pain Project,” our most recent project “China’s Generation Green” and others.

The International Reporting Program is comprised of 10 second-year masters students. The program is designed to teach global journalism by enabling young journalists to produce stories from the field.

The teams will be guided by faculty at UBC’s School of Journalism, including several award-winning journalists. The resulting project will be completed in collaboration with faculty from UBC Medicine. Through this partnership, the IRP will work closely with a team of global doctors who specialize in mental health and global health initiatives, including Dr. Videsh Kapoor, who will help guide students in their research and reporting.



Peter Klein –Director, School of Journalism, Global Reporting Centre Founder and Executive Director
Peter W. Klein is the director of the UBC School of Journalism and of the International Reporting Program. In 2009 he led a team of students on a global investigation about electronic waste, which won the Emmy for Best Investigative Journalism. Peter is a longtime producer with CBS News 60 Minutes, and has produced projects for many of the major American news programs, including Frontline, Nightline, 20/20 and 48 Hours. He has written for the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor and other newspapers.

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Dr. Videsh Kapoor – Director, Division of Global Health in the Department of Family Practice, Global Health Coordinator in the Medical Undergraduate Program, Faculty of Medicine
Dr. Videsh Kapoor is a clinical assistant professor in the UBC department of family practice. She is also a family physician practising in Vancouver, Canada. Videsh has a breadth of experience working with global health initiatives; she has established global health education programs for both undergraduate and postgraduate medical students. She works as the director of the division of global health in the department of family medicine, the global health coordinator in the medical undergraduate program at UBC and the faculty advisor for the UBC Medicine Global Health Initiative. Videsh is also directly involved with four global health projects located in India, Kenya, and Uganda. Videsh is a member of the advisory board of the school of journalism’s International Reporting Program. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for teaching and service to global health.

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David Rummel – Assistant Professor, School of Journalism, Managing Editor of the Global Reporting Centre
David Rummel co-teaches the International Reporting Program. He was the Senior Producer for News and Documentary at the New York Times, where he produced Public Affairs video journalism with Times reporters for a variety of television outlets. Dave’s work has been honoured with the most prestigious awards in journalism. He previously served as senior producer at ABC News and NBC News and was a producer at 60 Minutes.


Kathryn Gretsinger – Instructor, School of Journalism
Kathryn Gretsinger co-teaches the International Reporting Program at the UBC School of Journalism. She brings to the classroom an in-depth knowledge of media ethics and extensive experience working in multi-platform journalism, as well as a career reporting on mental health in Canada. Kathryn’s documentary work focuses on social issues and public policy debates. Her career at CBC Radio (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) began 26 years ago, and she continues to produce, train and occasionally host for the public broadcaster.

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Kim Frank – Video Editor, School of Journalism
Kim Frank began working as a video editor in 2004, after a long career as a contemporary dancer and choreographer. She edited the Emmy Award winning documentary Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground for PBS Frontline World, and the Emmy nominated In a Small Town for PBS Exposé. Other credits include documentaries for the Discovery Channel, PBS and Omni and news pieces for CNBC, Business Nation, and Dan Rather Reports.

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Daniel McKinney – Producer/Instructor, School of Journalism
Dan McKinney has co-taught the International Reporting Program at the UBC School of Journalism since 2009. McKinney received his MJ at University of California Berkeley (’02). As an accomplished videographer, he has shot and produced projects for ABC News, PBS, Al Jazeera, History Channel, National Geographic Channel and others.