A child welfare panel in North Carolina got its first look at the latest student risk behavior survey. The data paint a bleak picture of student mental health, access to guns, and violence.
The 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a biennial poll that originates with the national Centers for Disease Control, was voluntary but taken last fall by a statistically significant sampling of middle- and high-school students across the state. Ellen Essick a section chief with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction previewed the latest numbers to the Child Fatality Task Force at its meeting Monday. Among the results:
- Only 49% of students reported feeling good about themselves, down from 60% in 2019, and continuing a steady downward trend since 2011, when 80% said they felt good about themselves.
- Reports of depression also rose sharply. When students were asked whether they had stopped their normal activities for two weeks or more due to sadness in the past year — a sign of clinical depression — 43% of high-schoolers said they had, compared with 36% in 2019.