Mental illness/drug link explored

Four local psychiatrists are teaming up to help youth, parents and the general public

Four local psychiatrists are teaming up to help youth, parents and the general public better understand the connection between mental illness and drugs/alcohol.

Fulton Secondary will host a public presentation Wednesday at 7 p.m. to delve into the cause and effects of substance abuse and mental illness.

“A review of the connection between mental illness and illicit substances, especially in the setting of the adolescent brain,” said Dr. David Smith, adolescent and adult psychiatrist.

Smith will be joined by doctors Fiona McGregor, Kevin Stevenson and Russell Williams to present what we do and don’t know about the associations. There will also be a panel question and answer session with the psychiatrists, who all hold specialty training in addiction medicine.

Along with a relative ease of accessibility of illicit substances in the community, Smith says there is a perception of low risk among youth, who may not fully understand that their brains are still developing.

Smith hopes youth will take home a better sense and understanding of the topic during these formative years.

“A greater appreciation for their primary operating system in life – their brains,” said Smith. “Also, how common mental health issues are during their teen years and how this relates to them when considering substance use.”