This website is dedicated to our friend and colleague Alex Verkade who died in Vancouver in July 2013 when the first stage of this project was nearing completion.

A person of great wisdom and kindness, who also had a psychiatric diagnosis and history, Alex believed passionately that people like him were fully capable of (in his words), “making a positive contribution to their community by starting consumer-driven alternative service organizations and demonstrating the importance of consumer involvement to mental health and social service workers.” Alex devoted his life to this work: at MPA, West Coast Mental Health Network, Unity Housing, and most recently with the film The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Stories from MPA and these teaching materials.

Alex was a true friend and an invaluable colleague - helpful, smart, articulate, dedicated, hardworking, unassuming. We miss him.


This project has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Thompson Rivers University and the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

The History in Practice webpages are maintained by York University.

Project Team

Dana Allen, Lanny Beckman, Laura Buker, Kelsi Cox, Susan Beniston, Sarah de Leeuw, Megan Davies, Lori E., Susan Heximer, Ian Milligan, Cat Omura, Diane Purvey, David Reville, Margo Robinson, Karen Schwartz, Alistair Scott-Turner, Irit Shimrat, Nérée St-Amand, Lisa-Marie Sterr, Sonomi Tanaka, Kathy Teghtsoonian, Marie-Claude Tifault, Deborah Thien, Alex Verkade, Christina Wall, Branwen Willow

Project Co-ordinator

Megan Davies 

Project Support

Website design and construction: Jon Johnson

Original artwork: Echo Railton, Sonomi Tanaka, Mattia Thilllaye-Kerr, William Willis

Research and technical assistance: Kaetlyn Bew, Celeste Billung-Meyer, Julie Cormier, Dominic Dagenais, Ji-Enn Lee, Nicole Malcolm, Sarah Mughal, Mélissa Roy, Nico Rullman, Scott Winslow

Image editing: Celeste Billung-Meyer, Jasper Morgan, Dan Rooke

Sound and video work: Bryn Coates-Davies, Dominic Dagenais, Megan Davies, John Glenhill, Nick Nausbaum, Alex Poutiainen, Lily Ross-Millard, Sonomi Tanaka

Photography: Mab Coates-Davies, Sonomi Tanaka

Historical research and curriculum development: Dominic Dagenais, Megan Davies, Angela Rooke

Teaching materials: Dominic Dagenais, Megan Davies, Jenna Reid, Susan Heximer

Translation: Dominic Dagenais, Martin Desmeules, Marilyne Gour

HiP/HeT promotional trailer: Majda Drinnan

Project finances: Sarah Phillips, Karen Truscott

Thank you: Sanja Begic, Kevin Breit, Ralph Buckley, Pat Capponi, Carelton University, Colin Coates, Lucy Costa, Louis Dionne, Chris Dooley, Douglas College, Erika Dyck, George Brown College, Jennifer Green, Charles Peter Heit, Gabrielle Houle, Kathy Kendall, Eugene LeBlanc, Claudia Malacrida, Roberto Perin, Re-Imaging Long Term Residential Care Project, Bob Rose, Pam Shearar, Jim Struthers, Students at the Université d’Ottawa and Carleton University, Université d’Ottawa, University of Victoria, Tania Willard, Victor Willis, Jayne Whyte, Natalie Wood, York University, and all the good folks who helped us find expressions of emotion for the Trans-Canada Emotions map.