In the last week, I have had two opportunities to provide my opinions on how I practise psychiatry. Last Wednesday, on World Suicide Prevention Day, I participated in a tweet chat with staff at The Royal, answering questions about depression and preventing suicide. Today I was Rita Celli’s guest on Ontario Today, answering questions and addressing concerns about marijuana use in youth.

Both events forced me to consider: what do I think is the most important thing I say to the youth that I see and their parents and the answer to this is: Never lose hope. Many youth are struggling with mental health problems and it takes a lot of work and support to overcome these, but we continue to develop better treatments and diagnostics and there is every reason to be optimistic about outcomes.

Because I work in a tertiary care health centre, it is not uncommon for me to assess and treat youth who have tried many treatment with no success. What sets my team apart is their persistence, and mine. We will not give up until we find the correct treatment for an illness.

The young people that I see are courageous and talented. They have dreams to change the world and make it a better place. Some of those young people and their parents participated in the twitter and web chats. I hope a few people will look through these and consider the strengths of those with mental illness and the families who are supporting them. I hope they all know what an important testimony they are to how we can conquer mental illness together. Hearing their stories over the phone, on twitter and online has been the highlight of my week.

As Shakespeare said, “O Brave New World, that has such people in it.”

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