Youth and Mental Health 101

Mental health challenges in youth

Schizophrenia and psychosis

male looking confused


What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects how a person thinks, feels, behaves and relates to others. Schizophrenia can include psychosis, which is when a person loses contact with reality and can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not.


How schizophrenia might affect you

Certain mental and emotional changes can be early signs that someone may develop schizophrenia. These changes usually happen before more serious symptoms develop. They include:

    trouble concentrating or thinking clearly
    confusion about what is real or imaginary
    hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there
    feeling that the world has become strange and unreal
    fixation on religion or superstitions
    feeling suspicious or paranoid
    disorganized speech, racing thoughts or slowed-down thoughts
    irrational ideas of special identity or abilities
    problems with social activities, work or school
    withdrawal from family and friends
    flat emotions, decrease in facial expressions, monotone speech.1



    Schizophrenia is usually first noticed in 16- to 30-year-olds; its first onset typically happens in a person’s late teens to early twenties and is generally earlier for men than for women.2

Noticed most in ages


    Schizophrenia affects an estimated one person in every hundred.3


1 in 100



1. CAMH, 2018d

2. CMHA, 2013a

3. CMHA, 2013a

Youth and Mental Health 101 © , CAMH.