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Social support

Filling the Loneliness Void

When you live in a small town, everyone knows your reputation. In school, James often found that he was the outcast and viewed as a trouble-maker. Eventually crime and drug use became a way to fit in with a group and find any sort of connection with others. In and out of juvie and then the adult system, he took an opportunity to enter a treatment and recovery program. With his sentence complete this year, James looks forward to bringing the insights he’s discovered with him and continuing his work to build healthy and supportive relationships.

Writing Through Loneliness

By Grade 8, Tabitha found that drinking and drug use made it a lot easier to fit in, and drugs became part of her life. When her father and then her best friend died of a heroin overdose, Tabitha tried to change her own substance use, but social connections were challenging because drug use was everywhere in her community, and Tabitha found herself drowning in grief…alone. Now sober, she reflects on her path to accept her past, find new connections and reconnect with all parts of her story.

Treatments: What Works?

It seems like everyone has an opinion when it comes to treatments for mental health or substance use problems. To add to the confusion, it isn’t always obvious who is basing their opinions on real evidence and who is not. And while we often hear people talk about evidence-based treatments, it’s also clear that complementary and alternative medicine approaches are helpful for some.


When we talk about mental illnesses and substance use problems, it’s easy to talk in clinical terms: that person has this symptom, or that person uses a certain drug. But recovery is so much bigger than a checklist.

Social support

Learn more about social support. Social support is the support you receive from other people like families and friends. It can be informal, like sharing experiences with a friend, or formal, like meeting others with similar experiences in a support group. Social support has a huge impact on our health and well-being and is a key factor in dealing with substance use problems.

Social Support

What is Social Support? Social support is the physical and emotional comfort given to us by our family, friends, co-workers and others. It's knowing that we are part of a community of people who love and care for us, and value and think well of us. We all need people we can depend on during both the good times and the bad. Maintaining a healthy social support network is hard work and something that requires ongoing effort over time.


This issue looks at the role and experiences of families, particuarly families of young people, as the majority of mental illness first appears either in childhood, adolescence or young adulthood. It is also during these years that the family's role is most important, and when family support and involvement plays a crucial role in successfully managing the illness.

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