Mental health issues are of concern to many parents, but this week a study revealed that violence and other anti-social behaviour among Grade 7 to Grade 12 students in Ontario has dropped over the past two decades.
In addition, results from the latest Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey showed a sharp overall drop in bullying, although it would seem today’s students are more comfortable honing their bullying skills online. Cyberbullying remains a source of deep and worry concern.
In related findings, a whopping 81 per cent of students saying they like school to an extent while half indicated liking school quite a lot or very much.
The survey of students has been done every two years since 1977, making it the longest ongoing school survey of adolescents in Canada and one of the longest in the world, the researchers say. More than 11,000 students in Grade 7 through 12 from 214 schools took part in last year’s edition.
One of the most dramatic changes uncovered by the survey relates to the prescription of opioid pain relievers to students – an important finding given the current addiction and overdose crisis that has killed tens of thousands of people across North America in recent years.
Over the past decade, medical use of prescribed opioids among students has plunged to 18 per cent from 41 per cent, the survey finds.
A troubling finding is that girls more than boys seem to be developing symptoms of depression and anxiety and up to half of female students in Ontario show signs of moderate to serious psychological distress.
The study shed light on the fact that female students are twice more likely than their male counterparts to report elevated stress and counselling. Many have admitted to thoughts of suicide and a good number of them are walking about in a medicated state.
It would be interesting if the study also considered the role sedatives and other so-called happiness pills play in keeping students calm and able to go about their day without disrupting classes or going berserk. Would the findings be off the charts if for example all kids were to get off anti-depressants for a week? -CINEWS