Youth Risk & Resiliency Survey Shows Good News For Los Alamos And Areas For Continued Work

LAPS News:

The YRRS results for grades 9-12 have been released. Middle school data from the New Mexico Department of Health is expected next week. The report shows good news for Los Alamos and specific areas for continued work.

Community members are invited to attend the NM-YRRS Roadshow Presentation 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28 in the Los Alamos County Council Chambers. Attendees are invited to register at www.youthrisk.org.

The New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey is a tool to assess the health risk behaviors and resiliency (protective) factors of New Mexico high school and middle school students. The YRRS is part of the national CDC Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS).

Topic areas for the YRRS include risk behaviors related to alcohol and drug use, unintentional injury, violence, suicidal ideation and attempts, tobacco use, sexual activity, physical activity, and nutrition; resiliency (protective) factors such as relationships in the family, school, community, and with peers; and health status issues such as body weight and asthma. The YRRS is offered to high schools and middle schools the fall of odd-numbered years. All data are self-reported by students who voluntarily complete the survey during one class period.

Overall, State and local trends on substance and alcohol abuse are encouraging.

Key indicators in the YRRS data for Los Alamos include:

  • Los Alamos students have lower instances of risky behaviors. The YRRS data indicates reductions in students reporting use of tobacco and tobacco products and reductions in drinking before the age of 13 and in drinking and driving.
  • Every student has at least one parent paying attention to his or her school and wellbeing.
  • Our students have a healthier profile as compared to New Mexico. Areas of statistically significant positive differences include healthy eating, reduced technology screen time, and lower rates of overweight and obese students.

Areas for serious and continued working Los Alamos include:

  • Increased percentages of students reported being bullied.
  • Slight increased percentages of students reporting non-suicidal self-harm, sexual dating violence, having felt sadness or hopelessness, and of seriously considered suicide. 

“Action plans will be developed to address each area for continued work. The new Los Alamos School Board Strategic Plan lists Student Well-Being as the number one goal.  This aligns with what we are learning from YRRS,” Superintendent Dr. Kurt Steinhaus said. “The Los Alamos community and the schools are in much better shape now that we are having more open and wide-ranging conversations about mental health with attendant actions.”

The response rate for Los Alamos High School was 81 percent with 890 student responses proportionate across the high school. This represents an increase of participants from 2013 when 318 students completed the survey. High response rates produce survey results that are more representative of the student population. LAPS plans to use the survey data as one point of data with our Healthy Schools and Community Initiative.

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