Recently, the BC Adolescent Health Survey was published. The survey is conducted in schools across the province, the results are then broken down into regions and published.
Locally, the survey was administered by nurses and nursing students from Thompson Rivers University.
The survey covers topics from the hours of sleep students are getting, to proper nutrition and physical activity.
The most startling numbers provided were under the headings of Mental Health, and self-harm.
Compared to five years earlier, there was an increase in the percentage of youth who reported having anxiety disorder or panic attacks, (23% vs 10% in 2013), depression (20% vs 11%), and PTSD, (4% vs 1%).
Overall only 81% of Males in the region, and 59% of females reported their mental health as good or excellent.
The higher percentage of students reporting depression and anxiety led to high numbers of youth admitting to self-harm.
In the past year, 20% of students had cut or injured themselves on purpose without the intent of suicide. Only 9% of males reported self-harm compared to 28% of females. The most common reason given for self-harming was to calm themselves down (59%).
Over the past year, 19% of youth in the region reported seriously considering suicide, while 6 percent admitted to attempting suicide in the past twelve months.
SD 58 Superintendent Steve McNiven addressed the numbers.
“Mental health continued to be a focus for our kids. They’re telling us what they’re struggling with and that they’re struggling more often,” said McNiven. “What intrigued me at the end of the document was they want more information around mental health.”
“They’re telling us two things, they’re struggling, and they want more information. What we can take some solace in is that I believe we’re recognizing that and doing it. It just reinforces the fact that we have to continue,” added McNiven.
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