Snapshot of youth and mental health

McCreary Centre Adolescent Health Survey offers insights into mental health and young people

You might recall that before Christmas we had started a series on the McCreary Centre Adolescent Health Survey (2008 results) which asks students in grades 7-12 various questions about their lives, everything from exercise to eating habits to their mental well-being. We have written on weight and body image, exercise and healthy living, and home and family, and this week we will continue in that series with the centre’s findings on mental and emotional health.

Why would a youth’s mental and emotional health warrant further investigation with this survey? Well, because mental health is as important as physical health – they go hand in hand, you see.  And because we want to highlight areas where we can help adolescents be even healthier, and helping them feel better and think clearer are right up there. Not to mention program development, awareness campaigns geared towards decreasing stigma, and mental health literacy promotion.

The survey asked questions relating to a youth’s self-esteem, and the majority of youth reported positive outcomes. 87% of youth surveyed agreed with the statement “I usually feel good about myself”; 92% positively endorsed “I am able to do things as well as most other people”; 77% said “I feel I have much to be proud of”; and 86% of youth reported that they felt as though their life was useful.

There were also questions relating to stress. 82% of youth report feeling some type of stress or pressure in the last 30 days; 13% said Almost more than they could take; 19% said they were experiencing Quite a bit of pressure; 18% said they were feeling A little more than usual stress; 31% thought their stress Was about the same; and 19% said that they were Not feeling any pressure or stress at all.

Another survey finding was that 6% of students indicated feeling so much despair (sad, discouraged, hopeless) that they wondered if anything was worthwhile, however 54% of students reported no such feelings. That might correlate with the fact that for the first time since 1992 suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts were lower. 11% of students reported seriously considering suicide in the past year, which was comparable to the provincial rate; and 4% of students attempted suicide in the part year, which was also similar to the provincial rate. The survey also commented on some possible risk factors for suicide attempts, stating that youth who had a family or friend attempt suicide, a history of sexual abuse, a history of physical abuse, those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or questioning, or who have a health condition or disability were more likely to attempt suicide.

The survey also asked youth their most common reasons for not accessing mental health services (among the youth who felt they needed such services):

• 55% thought or hoped the problem would go away

• 44% didn’t want their parents to know

•  34% didn’t know where to go

• 22% were afraid that someone might see them

• 20% were afraid of what the doctor might say or do

• 12% didn’t think they could afford it

• 10% had no transportation

• 8% said their parent or guardian wouldn’t take them

This statistic resonates with me, partly because I am a provider of these services, and partly because of the empathy one feels in hearing that kids aren’t getting the help they need.

Fortunately, Chilliwack is leading the way with its’ Mental Health Literacy programs that operate within each local high school aimed at increasing awareness, decreasing stigma, increasing access to appropriate resources, and peer-to-peer mentoring.

The question we need to ask ourselves is: What are we as a community, as educators, and as parents and family members doing to make a positive difference in the lives of the children and youth in Chilliwack so that the positive trends that have been reported in the health survey continue?

Eryn Wicker (M.A., R.C.C.) is a mental health clinician with the Child and Youth Mental Health team with the Ministry of Children and Family Development in Chilliwack, B.C.

Just Posted

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

Vanessa Dueck.
Snapshots of a Chilliwack father from his loving daughter

Father’s Day memories of special moments shared together

Rachel is a six month old Labrador retriever cross who was found at large. She is seen here at the Chilliwack SPCA on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Rachel at the Chilliwack SPCA

6-month-old puppy found at large, now at Chilliwack SPCA, needs special home

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

Most Read