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Youth Concurrent Disorders

We are an outpatient clinic that provides consultation, comprehensive psychiatric assessments and limited treatment for youth ages 12-24 from the province of British Columbia.

Concurrent disorders

Concurrent disorders describes more than one disorder occurring at the same time. More specifically, mental health concerns coupled with substance use concerns.  

According to Adaire, C.E. 2009, 60-80% of youth with substance use disorders also have an emotional or behavioral disorders. Up to 40% of youth with mental health disorders also have a substance use disorder. Concurrent disorders are the expectation, not the exception. 

At the Provincial Youth Concurrent Disorders Program (PYCD), we see a range of mental health concerns including:  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorders, mood disorders, trauma, psychosis, concerns with sleep and anger. We also see a range of substance use including: nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

Concurrent disorders are complex and challenging to identify. The mental health concern may come first, using substances may come first, both concerns may start at the same time and mental health concerns and using substances may start separately.

Treatment approach

Concurrent Disorders are treatable. Both concerns need to be treated at the same time. At the Provincial Youth Concurrent Disorders program (PYCD) we are client-centered and work from a harm reduction approach. We work with both the youth and their families and use evidence-based treatment approaches.  

Who we treat

The Provincial Youth Concurrent Disorders Program (PYCD) sees youth that have experienced mental health and substance use concerns within the past 6 months.  

There also needs to be evidence of moderate to severe functional impairment in 1 or more of the following areas: school, housing, self-care, work, family life, legal, and/or peer relationships. The clinic works from a harm reduction approach. Abstinence from substance use is not required.

Access to the program is by referral only and requires the following:

  • the youth be aware of the referral and be willing to participate
  • parent / caregiver involvement if appropriate
Services we offer
  • Consultation
  • Assessment
  • Diagnostic clarification
  • Limited Treatment
  • Education 
  • Follow up care
  • Family support
  • Medication Consultation
  • Resource Consultation
  • Teaching to other health care service providers and student placements 

The health care team is an interdisciplinary team comprised of: a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a nurse clinician, a clinical counselor and a social worker. 

The Provincial Youth Concurrent Disorders Program has initiated and collaborated on two research submissions which are under review.  
Learn more about our research at Child & Family Research Institute.


Student placements and training opportunities are available at all levels and from multiple disciplines including: social work, nursing, counseling, medicine, psychology and psychiatry.



During treatment

The clinic provides outpatient psychiatric assessment, consultation and limited treatment for youth with mental health and substance use concerns.

Specifically the clinical services include:

  • A comprehensive psychiatric assessment with special attention to the role of substance use. If the youth is already under the care of a psychiatrist, this would serve as a second opinion. 
  • Treatment recommendations and liaison with community service providers as required.
  • Limited treatment if appropriate including: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Seeking Safety for trauma and substance use.
  • Education regarding youth concurrent disorders including the complex nature of the interactions of substance use and mental health concerns.

The process of assessment and consultation can take from 1 to 5 appointments, each lasting 1- 1.5 hours.

After assessment

What happens afterward depends on the outcome of the comprehensive psychiatric assessment. Potential outcomes may be liaison to community services, and/or limited treatment through the program. The outcomes will be discussed in the feedback session.

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SOURCE: Youth Concurrent Disorders ( )
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