Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What the Healthy Youth Survey tells us about youth substance use, mental health, bullying, and academic achievement

The Washington State Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery recently provided community coalitions with an analysis of 2012 Healthy Youth Survey results that included information about the possible link between substance abuse and mental health problems, academic outcomes, and other health-related issues.

This first slide shows the "co-occurrence" of mental health problems with substance use among Washington students.  The dark blue bars represent youth who report experiencing depressive feelings in the last year.  The light blue bars represent those who did not report depressive feelings.  As the chart shows, youth who report depression are more than twice as likely to be using substances with alcohol leading the way.

This second slide shows the relationship between poor academic performance and substance use among youth.  About half of the students using substances are getting low grades.  Among students who do not report substance use, only 19% report getting low grades. 

The next slide shows that skipping school is much more common among students who use substances than those who do not.  This is especially true among students who report using painkillers to get high. 

Among Washington 10th grade students who use alcohol, 32% report being bullied.  The rate climbs to 41% among students who use painkillers to get high.  

This final slide shows that students who report carrying a weapon are also much more likely to report using substances. 

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