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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 Smart Colorado, a nonprofit organization focused on protecting youth from the harms of marijuana use and legalization.

Study reinforces link between adolescent marijuana use, psychosis

Researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) have found that both adolescent cannabis use and cigarette use are associated with increased risk of psychosis. The association was greater for cannabis, according to their study,...

Federal Study: Colorado’s mixed bag of pot

The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health contains good, bad and ugly news. I'll take it from the top -- and focus on youth marijuana use in Colorado, where I serve as medical director of one of the state's largest adolescent addiction-treatment programs and...

Study: Little to no evidence cannabis alleviates chronic pain

A new review of nearly 14,000 research articles and studies has found there is little to no evidence that cannabis alleviates chronic pain in adults. The full report, funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Quality Enhancement Research Initiative and...

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
"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.

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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