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B.C. Adolescent Health Survey shows rise in Okanagan mental health concerns

The regional stats showed that, on average, mental health issues rose from the previous study in 2013. Global News

The B.C. Adolescent Health Survey is overflowing with statistics, including increases in mental health issues.

The twice-a-decade study surveyed 38,000 youth across the province, including all school districts in the Okanagan, Shuswap, Similkameen and Nicola regions.

The regional stats showed that, on average, mental health issues rose from the previous study in 2013.

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For example, according to the study, 70 per cent of Okanagan students rated their mental health as good or excellent. The provincial average was 73 per cent.

That 70 per cent is a 10-per cent drop from the 2013 study, when 80 per cent of Okanagan students rated their mental health as good or excellent.

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The drop was seen for both males (87 per cent in 2013, 80 per cent in 2018) and females (73 per cent in 2013, 60 per cent in 2018).

The survey also said more than half of Okanagan students, 56 per cent, felt some level of despair in the past month, versus 49 per cent in 2013.

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The report said some students experienced extreme disparity to the point where they could not function. It added that females (19 per cent) were more likely to experience this level of extreme stress than males (7 per cent).

When asked about specific mental health conditions, the Okanagan saw a jump in anxiety disorders, with 24 per cent of students admitting to panic attacks, versus 11 per cent in 2013.

When it came to anxiety and depression, females were more likely to report these conditions, whereas males were more likely to report ADHD.

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Self-harm scored high in females, with one in four girls admitted that they had self-harmed.

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When asked about suicide, results showed that 19 per cent of students had seriously considered it in the past year, a five-per cent jump from the 14 per cent reported in 2013.

The survey said similar to youth across B.C., six per cent of Okanagan students went through with an attempt.

“Similar to local results in 2013, Okanagan students were more likely to report having a mental health condition than youth across B.C., including being more likely to have anxiety disorder/panic attacks (24 per cent vs. 19 per cent across B.C.), depression (19 per cent vs. 15 per cent), and ADHD (10 per cent vs. 7 per cent).

To view the survey, click here.

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If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.