JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The ”Youth Risk Behavior Survey” Duval County students took in 2021 shows some results that should be concerning for parents -- and others that should be encouraging.
According to the survey, in 2021:
- Nearly 1 in 4 middle school students (24.4%) made a plan to die by suicide
- More than 16% of high schoolers reported attempting suicide in the 12 months before the survey
- More than 21% of high school students and 17% of middle school students said they abused prescription drugs
The survey, which monitors risky behavior that could cause sickness or even death, is something Duval County Public Schools students have been taking since 2009. It asks students questions about behaviors like drug or alcohol use, sexual or physical activity, and bullying or suicide.
“Today’s youth are making better decisions about their health. We have made great strides in improving the behaviors that put students most at risk for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. Still, there is more work to be done to create healthier environments for our children,” said Antonio Nichols, Interim Administrator/Health Officer for The Florida Department of Health in Duval County.
Since 2009, Duval County has seen a decline in sexual activity among adolescents, but the survey revealed many students still engaged in sexual behaviors that either led to unplanned pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections.
Use of electronic vapor products is also a concern, with 12.1% of middle school and 18.5% of high school students reporting current electronic vapor product use, according to the survey.
The survey also reveals what other resources can be provided to improve health and well-being for students in the future.
School district leaders are asking students to fill out the survey again this year.
Parents will get a paper copy of the survey to review before their kids take it. That can also be reviewed online.
Parents can also opt their children out of taking the survey.
For more information or to access the YRBS reports online, visit duval.floridahealth.gov.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 (TALK) or 9-8-8; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Text TALK to 741741 (suicide)
- Text HOME to 741741 (crisis)
- Children Home Society’s Family Support: Warm Line 1-888-733-6303 (chslistens.com)
- United Way: Dial 211 for 24-hour crisis intervention and suicide prevention
- The Vinson Foundation: Helping Families Coping with Suicide Loss (https://thevinsonfoundation.org/)
- Heretomorrow: Helpline in Neptune Beach available Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. -- (904) 372-9087 (heretomorrow.org)
- LSF Health Systems: 24/7 ACCESS TO CARE LINE: (877) 229-9098 (https://www.lsfhealthsystems.org/)