Mental Health and Substance Abuse Literacy

The high school years are a time of lots of change. You become more mature physically, emotionally and socially. With all of these changes many young people experience some degree of emotional turmoil and some begin to show signs of emotional problems which, when they become serious, we call mental illness. Some try to manage emotional difficulties by misusing alcohol and drugs. This section will provide an overview of these issues as they relate to young adults and what you ought to know to be most informed and healthy should a problem emerge.

Protective and Preventative Factors

Just like you can do things to make you less likely to become physically ill, there are things you can learn and steps you can take to make you better able to avoid or effectively handle emotional problems.

Mental Health Problems

If you or a friend are experiencing emotional difficulties, it is really helpful to get support quickly. By being aware of what these problems can look like you can get help sooner. We’ll share some simple tips for understanding and identifying emotional problems.


Some young people use alcohol or other drugs to help them handle difficult feelings and others may use them because their friends are. In this section we will provide basic information about alcohol and drugs commonly misused and the risks associated with them.

Content adapted from the National Institute on Drug Abuse - NIDA for Teens


Whether you or a friend are having an emotional problem, it is important to know how to get help. We’ll provide some simple guidance to help you through the process and to help you make good decisions about getting care.

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