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YRBS Data Stresses Need for Additional Mental Health Resources

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Results from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey emphasize the need for additional mental health services and resources for Wisconsin students.
Nearly one in every two of the high school students surveyed (49 percent) are dealing, or have dealt with some form of anxiety, an increase from 39.9 percent in 2017. Almost 30 percent of respondents said they have faced depression, and 18.5 percent said they have resorted to non-suicidal self-harm.
The statewide results, published Tuesday by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, can be found in PDF form on the YRBS data website.
“The results of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey provide insight into the challenges many Wisconsin students face every day — in and outside of the classroom,” State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor said. “It is imperative to leverage this information to help students overcome the many unique hurdles they face.”
Survey results showed notable decreases in smoking tobacco and the use of other traditional tobacco products. Past 30 day use of traditional cigarettes is down from 7.8 percent in 2017, to 5.7 percent of respondents in 2019. However, the use of electronic cigarettes or vaping devices is up sharply from 2017 results, with 45.5 percent of survey respondents answering they have tried vaping, 20.6 percent answering they have vaped in the past 30 days, 8.5 percent saying they regularly vape, and 5.6 percent saying they vape daily.
Conducted every two years since 1993, the intent of the YRBS is to monitor health risk behaviors of high school students. The survey collected responses on a volunteer basis from a group of 1,829 students in 45 public, charter, and alternative high schools in Wisconsin during the spring of 2019. The 89 survey questions covered topics such as mental health, school safety, bullying, tobacco and electronic smoking devices, sexual behaviors, physical health, nutrition, and more.
For more information on the survey, and for historical results, visit the DPI’s YRBS website.