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Colorado survey reinforces need for youth mental health services

Posted 08/10/2018

EAGLE COUNTY — In February, the death by suicide by a local teen stunned the Eagle Valley community.

As adults and kids alike grappled with the aftermath of this trauma, their conversations brought renewed vigor to local mental health awareness work. And now, the Eagle County results from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey reinforce those efforts.

Every other year, the Eagle River Youth Coalition administers the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey to students in grades seven through 12 across local public and private schools. It's a gauge of youth behaviors, influences and choices they make. The largest youth behavioral assessment in our community, the survey includes information on mental health, substance use, nutrition, physical activity, safety and violence, sexual behavior and more. The information gathered here in Eagle County is then compared with youth behaviors from around the state and nation.

In total, 3,001 children in Eagle County were questioned. The survey is completely anonymous, with no personal identifying information and many layers of analysis by the University of Colorado to prevent misinformation. The 2017 work marks the fifth administration of the survey during the past 10 years.

 

As noted by Eagle River Youth Coalition Executive Director Michelle Stecher, the 2017 survey results are a good new/bad new mix.

"Students think it's very important to finish high school, and about 92 percent think it is important to go to college," Stecher said. "In addition to future aspirations, local youth are generally very involved, with 65 percent of high school and 76 percent of middle school youth playing on sports teams, and similar numbers participate in extracurricular activities. School safety received strong remarks, with 91 percent of high school youth feeling safe at school."

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