1 in 100 people live with schizophrenia, and for those predisposed to a mental illness, cannabis use starting from a young age can trigger the illness

VANCOUVER, BC (October 5, 2021) – To mark World Mental Health Day on October 10, the BC Schizophrenia Society (BCSS), a non-profit organization providing province-wide support and services for those affected by schizophrenia and other serious mental illness, is launching the Cannabis & Mental Illness video to help educate the province’s youth on cannabis use and how it can potentially impact the development of serious mental illness. The video captures a candid conversation between youth, trusted adults, and Dr. Deborah Thompson on cannabis use today and its potential effects for those predisposed to a mental illness.

“We’re glad to be in a position to facilitate these conversations that address pressing questions highlighting topics surrounding stigmas and empowering young people to discuss and learn,” said Faydra Aldridge, CEO of the BC Schizophrenia Society. “We want this conversation about cannabis and mental illness to be leveraged in schools, youth groups and support meetings. Videos like this help educate youth so they can make informed decisions and spark conversations with their peers and trusted adults in their lives.”

The Cannabis & Mental Illness video centers around regularly asked questions in youth groups across the province about cannabis, its impact on the brain and how it may affect those at risk of a mental illness. To address these questions from youth, the BC Schizophrenia Society developed this video in collaboration with youth themselves to help inform those aged 11-14 years old on the potential effects that can take shape in relation to cannabis use and mental illness. These youth were part of the conceptualization and development of the video, and key to bringing the video to life.

“A lot of youth are unaware of the many risk factors that can trigger psychosis and serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia, and that cannabis can be one of them,” said Dr. Deborah Thompson, a clinical pharmacist with a speciality in mental illness and the expert featured in the Cannabis & Mental Illness video. “One in 100 people live with schizophrenia and because our brains keep developing until we’re 25, it’s critical to educate youth about this from an early age.”

The Cannabis & Mental Illness video will help destigmatize conversations about mental illness and to equip youth with the necessary information to make informed decisions. People can find the video at www.bcss.org and it will be used by BCSS and the Kids & Teens in Control team as an educational tool to spark conversations when visiting schools and in youth groups across British Columbia. This video was made possible with funding from the BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.

The Cannabis & Mental Illness video is available here.

The graphic recording can be downloaded here.

For more information on cannabis and mental illness visit www.bcss.org.

About the BC Schizophrenia Society

British Columbia Schizophrenia Society (BCSS) is a non-profit organization founded in 1982 by families and friends of people with schizophrenia. Since then, BCSS has grown into a province-wide family support system. BCSS is dedicated to supporting families and helping families support each other, educating the public, raising funds for research and advocating for better services for people with schizophrenia and other serious and persistent mental illness. Currently, BCSS has staff based in various communities across the province, from Haida Gwaii and Terrace to Cranbrook and Fort St. John. For more information, visit www.bcss.org.

Media Contacts

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Maddie Davidson