NEWS RELEASE BY THE SCHIZOPHRENIA SOCIETY OF CANADA (SSC)
The Schizophrenia Society of Canada (SSC) is excited to announce $978,000 in funding from
Health Canada to support its National Cannabis and Mental Health Project. This funding will help
address the gap in Canada’s mental health space by ensuring information about the impacts of
cannabis are accessible to youth in need.
Canadian youth (15–24) has one of the highest rates of cannabis use worldwide 1,2 with prevalence
rates almost double that of adults. Research is highlighting the continuing gap in the
implementation of relevant cannabis education across a range of contexts and targeted to
specific age groups, especially youth.
The funding will help refine and scale the innovative resources developed by and for youth
through this project, including a self-led Cannabis and Mental Health certificate course,
accompanying Mentor Guide, the Cannabis and Psychosis website, and numerous knowledge
mobilization products focused on sharing accessible scientific and experiential expertise.
“I am grateful to the Schizophrenia Society of Canada and their community partners for adapting
the Cannabis and Mental Health program to reach a wider youth audience,” said Hon. Carolyn
Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health. “As our
government works to improve integrated health care services for all Canadians, this funding will
help to empower more young people to protect their mental health and better understand the
health impacts around cannabis use.”
The Cannabis and Mental Health course and associated resources are evidence-based and
developed with the lived experiences and expertise of youth, parents, educators and clinicians.
This funding will enable the Cannabis and Mental Health project to continue meeting the needs of
youth. Additionally, this funding will help us to provide training and workshops for teachers,
clinicians and other adult allies.
“This project is so critically important as many young people use cannabis recreationally, or to
address mental health challenges, and may be unaware that it can carry risks,” said Chris
Summerville, CEO, Schizophrenia Society of Canada. “With Cannabis and Mental Health, we’re
getting evidence based education into the hands of youth, educators and adult allies.”
For more information about the Cannabis and Mental Health project, visit:
About: The Schizophrenia Society of Canada (SSC) is working to build a Canada where people
living with early psychosis and schizophrenia can achieve their potential. This is possible with early
intervention and recovery-focused mental health services. The heart and soul of SSC is the
conviction that things can be better for those experiencing early psychosis and schizophrenia.
Cannabis and Mental Health Project Testimonials:
“These resources offer a balanced, evidence-based and engaging curriculum addressing the
relationship between cannabis use and mental health, to help equip youth with tools to make
informed decisions. They create a great opening to explore why young people choose to use
cannabis, the impact of legalization on diverse communities, and the importance of destigmatizing
and harm reduction approaches to substance use and mental health education.”
Julia Armstrong, Manager, Mental Health and Substance Use Health. April 2023
The Cannabis & Mental Health project was created by a diverse group of youth, including those
with lived experiences, identifying as black, Indigenous, or persons of colour, and from
geographically disparate regions across Canada. These perspectives are highlighted throughout
the course through conversations between young people on their experience of stigma and an
Indigenous youth’s perspective on spirituality. We hope that by seeing others like themselves,
harder-to-reach youth, especially those who feel their realities aren’t reflected by mainstream
public health approaches to cannabis and mental health, will feel more excited about and
empowered with accessible, balanced content.
Hargun Kaur, National Youth Action Committee, April 2023.
The Cannabis and Mental Health course aims to assess the needs of those existing in the margins.
The project takes a strength-based approach to prioritising the needs of specific communities
while uplifting the voices of those that may be at more elevated risk of erasure and exclusion.
Connor Lafortune, Indigenous Strategic Advisor, April 2023.
The Cannabis and Mental Health Team!