Students in Fraser East feel they can’t access the mental health support and information they need. Image: Pixabay

Students in Fraser East feel they can’t access the mental health support and information they need. Image: Pixabay

Students in the Fraser East work hard, need more mental health support

McCreary Centre releases stats from 2018 that show trends among students

Students in the Fraser East region, which includes Fraser Cascade, Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Mission school districts, are hard workers who want more information on and access to mental health support.

That is just a snippet of the vast information released mid-February by the McCreary Centre Society. The society gathers information regularly from students across the province through self-assessements written in school. It then collates all the information into province-wide and regional statistics, designed to highlight areas of concern or success relating to students’ health and welfare — at home, in the community and in schools.

This year’s report focuses on data collected in 2018 and is mostly compared to data from 2013. They found that the cultural makeup of the Fraser East is changing. The percentage of youth identifying as European decreased, and 40 per cent of students spoke a language other than English at home.

READ MORE: B.C. teens struggling more with anxiety, depression: 2018 report

Students in the Fraser East work are more likely to work at paid jobs, at 38 per cent compared to the provincial rate of 33 per cent. They are more like to work more than 20 hours a week, as well.

Perhaps related to that increased number of working hours, local students are sleeping less. The percentage getting at least eight hours dipped from 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

The stats also show that kids are eating breakfast less, not just here but around the province. And the numbers of youth vomiting after eating is on the rise, provincially and regionally. This increase was seen for both males (12 per cent vs. 6 per cent in 2013) and females (15 per cent vs. 10 per cent).

Likewise, fewer female youth in the region are reporting they are in good or excellent mental health, and the numbers seriously considering suicide is on the rise — at 26 per cent in the Fraser East. However, the rates of attempts have stayed steady.

Locally, 20 per cent of youth had a family member who had attempted or died by suicide (vs. 16 per cent provincially), and 33 per cent had a close friend who had done so (vs. 29 per cent provincially). Fraser East youth who had a close friend or family member who had attempted or died by suicide were more likely to have attempted suicide themselves.

And they aren’t feeling like the access to mental health is there for them. A fifth of students missed out on services they felt they needed, and 61 per cent of those students didn’t access the services because they didn’t want their parents to know.

Despite all of those statistics, Fraser East youth generally felt positively about their quality of life. For example, more indicated they had a good life (77 per cent) and their life was going well (72 per cent).

READ MORE: Province unveils 10-year plan to boost mental health, addiction recovery services


 

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