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Youth Mental Health Matters

We're for the developing brain -- our world's most valuable natural resource


Simply put, this website offers information about child and adolescent mental health — particularly as it relates to substance use and addiction.

Contributors to are big believers in evidence-based medicine that has practical, real-world applications — meaning science that has been subjected to the rigorous review of reputable scholars and can be used at home and throughout a community.

We do not have all the answers — but we are confident the information you find here is trustworthy enough to guide your search for them responsibly.

— Dr. Christian Thurstone, M.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado


Dr. Christian Thurstone is featured in this video produced by Mental Health Colorado, a nonprofit organization advocating for the prevention and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.

Thurstone named Director of Behavioral Health Services at Denver Health

It is my great honor to serve as Denver Health's new director of Behavioral Health Services. I deeply respect the hospital's mission to provide everyone world-class healthcare -- and without regard for their ability to pay for it. In coming months, I will share new...

Denver Health provides first-of-its-kind military training

Since joining the U.S. Army Reserve seven years ago, I have had a lot of time to study the military training needs for Army Mental Health Specialists. I am grateful to my employer, Denver Health, and to my colleagues there -- especially Dr. Scott Simpson, director of...

The marijuana, psychosis connection

More research, this time from King’s College in London, reinforces the strong association between marijuana use and psychosis. We provide an extensive list of research citations to aid the growing number of parents who contact us.

Thurstone named Denver ‘Top Doc’ in 2018

I'm humbled by the praise of my physician peers, who named me a Denver "Top Doc" for the eighth consecutive year in in 5280 magazine. To those of you who thought of me and took the time to cast this vote of confidence in my work, thank you so much. I count on many of...

Perspective from a Colorado pain medicine doctor

I frequently hear from people around the world who have interesting perspectives about healthcare and are good at sharing what they're seeing and thinking from the trenches. Dr. Kenneth Finn has practiced pain medicine in Colorado Springs, Colo., for nearly 25 years....

Prevention and Treatment for Families

Help and hope for families wanting to avoid and address problems associated with substance use and addiction.

How parents can help their adolescents not use drugs

The most important thing parents can do for their adolescent with a substance problem is to maintain a positive, warm and loving relationship with him or her because this is the most important tool parents have to shape their child's values and future directions. This...

Parents don’t have to accept youth substance use

These are common questions: If so many teens are using addictive substances such as alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, what's the big deal? Isn't it normal to experiment like this? After all, teens will be teens -- and a lot of parents had their own flings with smokes...

"Clearing the Haze" book cover

Read the book

Clearing the Haze is a guide designed to help parents determine whether their child may have a substance problem and, if so, how to begin to address it. This book includes the voices and insight of experts in substance abuse counseling, young people in recovery, and parents who have lived the nightmare of adolescent addiction.

impACT manual cover

Download the impACT manual

This is the first adaptation of Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) for adolescent substance treatment. The manual is a general guide for treatment using Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) principles.

Hot Topics, Great Resources


Many parents describe it as “just pot” until they experience firsthand a child addicted to the drug.


Whether misused as prescribed or bought on the black market, opioids harm at record rates.

Brain Development

Anyone who has made it through adolescence knows this is a time of important development.

Find a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist

Remember: Adolescent mental health extends to age 25. A great way to find a physician who understands the unique mental health needs of children and adolescents is searching the online member directory of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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