390 Lincoln Road
Sudbury, MA 01776
For Immediate Release
Monday, Nov. 23, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Sudbury Lincoln CRANE Presents Results of MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey to Local Officials
SUDBURY — The Sudbury Lincoln Community Resource Awareness Network (C.R.A.N.E.) presented the results of the 2014 MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey to local officials on Tuesday, Nov. 17 during a presentation at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.
The MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey is a grant-funded initiative by the MetroWest Health Foundation, and is administered to students in grades 6-12 every two years. The survey consists of questions regarding students’ involvement in unhealthy and potentially risky behaviors; 110 core and 12 additional optional questions for middle school students and 148 core and 20 additional optional questions for high school students.
Survey questions focus on substance use, mental health, violence and bullying, perception of safety and adult support, and protective factors. The questions are asked about behaviors that have occurred in past month (current), past year, or at any point in their lifetime.
Betsy Grams, Wellness Coordinator of Sudbury Public Schools, presented the data from students at the Ephraim Curtis Middle School and Emily Phillips, a clinical counselor at Lincoln Sudbury High School, presented the data from students at the Lincoln Sudbury High School.
A total of 975 students at the middle school and 1,503 students at the high school participated in the survey.
Some encouraging trends from the middle school survey results include:
- Decrease in bullying victimization (34 percent in 2012 to 28 percent in 2014)
- One third of students tried to stop another from bullying at school
- Substance use of cigarettes, marijuana, and inhalants remains low
There were also some concerning trends:
- Depressive symptoms percentage has increased, most notably in females.
- Cyberbullying percentages have remained relatively unchanged
- Thirty-five percent of students report feeling stressed often or very often
The high school also had encouraging trends from survey results:
- Increase in physical activity
- Decrease in students who have smoked cigarettes in their lifetime (31 percent in 2006 to 13 percent in 2014)
- Significant decrease in students who said they drove after drinking in the past month (24 percent in 2008 to eight percent in 2014)
Some concerning trends among high school students were:
- Increase in the percent of students who reported driving after smoking marijuana (15 percent in 2012 to 19 percent in 2014)
- Decrease in condom use among youth who reported having sexual intercourse in the last three months (73 percent in 2006 to 60 percent in 2014)
- Increase in reporting life as being “very” stressful
“These surveys are an excellent tool that we can use to measure trends among our youth, and find out where the trouble spots are,” Grams said. “Although some trends can be concerning, we should also focus on the positive and encouraging results too. Part of decreasing risky behaviors includes showing students that the majority of their peers are also making good choices.”
School officials, town officials, members of law enforcement, mental health professionals, and clergy members were invited to attend the presentation. Those who participated in discussions cited delaying the onset of substance abuse and a decrease in drunk driving as some of the “biggest wins” of the results. To officials, the biggest concerns are mental health and high levels of stress among youths, especially in females.
“We are inspired by the promising results of these surveys and will continue promoting healthy behaviors among our youth,” Phillips said. “We know we still have some work to do, and we will continue forming stronger relationships with our students and learning how we can best help them to make good choices and decrease unhealthy choices.”
During a discussion following the presentation, attendees focused on ways that organizations can continue to promote healthy trends and decrease risky behavior among youths. Ideas included increasing parental awareness and participation, continuing educational programs, and reaching out to other organizations in the community and surrounding towns that may be able to provide additional resources.
For more information about the MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey, visit mwhealth.org.
The Community Resource Awareness Network (CRANE) compiles the wealth of youth and family support services in the Sudbury and Lincoln communities into one collaborative structure that communicates them effectively so that local families and professionals will have one place to access the wide array of services offered. By creating this network, we strive to provide easier access to services, better coordination between programs and greater awareness of these important issues.