Tuesday, 2 October 2012


I envision this blog as a way to reach out to other people working in the field of Youth Mental Health, or struggling with issues that relate to the mental health of young people.

I am a Psychiatrist working on a specialized hospital unit for young people struggling with mental health issues in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. I also work on call at this hospital and am consulted to support young people in crisis in the Emergency Department and on the Paediatric Ward.

As you can imagine this kind of work forces one to confront some challenging ethical questions as well as some important theoretical questions, such as:

What exactly is mental illness?

What aspects of treatment should young people decide for themselves, how does this change with development?

What aspects of treatment should people with mental illness decide for themselves?

What is the role of family in these decisions?

How do we address the behaviours of young people, or mentally ill people in the hospital?

How do families address the behaviours of young people, including those with mental illness at home and how is this the same or different?

What is the role of medication in treating young people?

What is the role of various other treatments in the hospital and after hospital in treating young people?

I see this blog as being a forum for discussion on these topics. My team here on the Adolescent Psychitric Unit have wrestled and continue to wrestle with these questions and I will share some of our philosphical postitions on these matters in this blog as well as the role of various advances in the realm of developmental science and neuroscience that might inform these questions.