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.
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.
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