Mental illness and substance use problems are highly prevalent and often missed. They affect 20 per cent of people at some point in their lives. These problems commonly appear in adolescence and early adulthood. The ability to recognize precursors of these problems or to identify them early offers the prospect of more effective intervention and mitigation of negative consequences, both in terms of their acuity and frequency.

Determinants of health shape the course of well-being and disease. They may function as both risk and protective factors (Poole & Chaim, 2007). Determinants include sex, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, migration status, age and geography. There are strong correlations between the cluster of biopsychosocial factors that affect wellness and illness. These are best understood as a continuum. A person's (and a community's) location on this continuum will vary over the course of a lifetime.

A particularly strong interrelationship has been shown between substance use and mental health. The occurrence of one significantly increases the odds of the other being present. 


Relationship between Substance Use and Mental Health