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Justice Institute of British Columbia, School of Criminal Justice & Security
This research paper aims to address high crime rates among Canadian youth by determining whether or not mental illness is at the root of this issue. The question of how pre-existing mental illnesses contribute to youth violence in Canada is answered through a critical appraisal of existing literature. Through an examination of various sources, several themes are identified in terms of factors leading to youth offending, including personal victimization, poverty and substance abuse. Thus, it is determined that mental illness does in fact have a causal connection to youth violent offending. It is also identified that the risk of offending is heightened when an individual has a dual-diagnosis. Specifically, substance abuse problems occurring simultaneously with any other form of mental illness significantly increases the risk that an individual will offend. Furthermore, important risk factors for a dual-diagnosis are identified, as well as preventative and protective measures.
mental illness; mental disorder; substance abuse; dual diagnosis; youth violence; youth offending; Canadian youth
Bachelor of Law Enforcement Studies (BLES)