Getting Candid About Mental Health and Substance Use

Are you an adult looking for resources? Visit the Getting Candid homepage.

Are you a young person looking for some ways to prevent alcohol and drug use in yourself and others? 

You’ve come to the right page.  

Keep scrolling for videos and guides that can help you stay informed and give you some tools to help others out too. You’ll find more about the #ItsTheLittleThings campaign, information on alcohol and other common drugs, and suggestions for talking to your friends and family about substance use.

Meet the Influencers

Justin Puder phone headshot
Justin Puder
Sammy Huerta phone headshot
Sammy Huerta
Chris Olsen phone headshot
Chris Olsen
Ava Michelle phone headshot
Ava Michelle
Cami Petyn phone headshot
Cami Petyn
Sarah Carolyn phone headshot
Sarah Carolyn
Dani Calleiro phone headshot
Dani Calleiro
Dr. Kojo Sarfo phone headshot
Kojo Sarfo

The Connection Between Mental Health and Substance Use

Many young people experience mental health or substance use disorders without even realizing it.

  • 1 in 3 young adults (aged 18-25) in the U.S. experienced mental illness in 2020.
  • 1 in 6 adolescents (aged 12-17) in the U.S. experienced a major depressive episode in 2020.
  • 1 in 7 young adults (aged 18-25) had a substance use disorder in 2018.

Did you know that substance use disorders often co-occur with mental health disorders? Poor mental health can contribute to the development of a substance use disorder, and using alcohol or other drugs can contribute to mental health problems. Some young people may turn to substances to try to feel better, without realizing that substance use can actually have the opposite effect, and further worsen mental health. Seeking out help and resources for mental health and substance use is not only normal but is key to helping yourself and others feel their best.

If you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis, please call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.

Learn More About Substances

Motivate Others

So what do you say? Check this guide for how to say what you need to say when you’re talking with friends about alcohol or other drugs.

Youth Voice

How to Be a Mental Health Advocate

There is a common misconception that you must earn a degree, get special training or hold a high-powered job to be a leader. However, you are an expert of your own lived experienced and your voice has the power to motivate and guide others. Learn more about your leadership style and creating a vision for change.

Telling Your Story of Lived Experience

Your first-hand experience as a young person gives you unique wisdom about what young people need to heal and thrive. Your story can be your most powerful tool to help people understand what is necessary to make real change. Learn more about how to craft your story and advocate for change.

These blogs share teens’ perspectives and experiences with substance use and mental health.

Find posts below that you can use on Instagram and Twitter to share fun and interesting facts to reduce stigma around mental health and substance use.

Why don’t they use alcohol or drugs? Tune in to see what other teens have to say when they Share Their Why.

More Resources

More Resources for Youth

Courses teach teens in grades 10-12, or ages 15-18, how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges among their friends and peers. Find a course near me.

This guide provides information on how to talk and think about sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, and mental health, identifies ways to cope with stress and emotions and discusses how to get support for yourself and others.

These resources help you support the ones you love, while ensuring you take care of yourself while doing so.

YPR’s mission is to provide the life skills and peer supports to help people recover from substance use disorder and reach their full potential.

Check out their latest campaigns and join the This Is Quitting Campaign.

Stay in Touch

To learn about new opportunities and educational events, send us your email address:

This project is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1,500,000 with 100% funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government.