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Mental Health Connection


There are few health issues that carry the same degree of stigma and mythology that does addiction.

While drug and alcohol addiction and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety can occur separately, they are often closely linked. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), approximately 20% of people with a mental health issue also have a substance abuse problem, and the majority of individuals seeking treatment for substance abuse have at least one mental health challenge – often untreated. Substance abuse can trigger mental health issues or make them worse, and addiction can arise as a desperate coping strategy for untreated mental health conditions (e.g., self-medication). It is for these reasons that the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre offers a comprehensive treatment approach that addresses both substance abuse and mental health.

Clients served recently by the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre presented in the following ways:


Had co-occurring mental health conditions


Had self-harming behaviour or suicide attempts


A history of victimization



98% Suffer from a co-occurring mental health condition, including:

  • 89% Major depression
  • 84% Conduct disorder
  • 78% Traumatic stress disorder
  • 70% ADD/HD
  • 57% Generalized anxiety

72% Reported self-harming behaviours

or a suicide attempt in the past year

85% Reported a history of victimization

(68% within the past year)