Yesterday, the McCreary Centre Society made a presentation of their findings from their 2008 British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey to our District Healthy Schools Committee. The depth of information found in these reports is amazing, and the findings are very instructive as we work as a community to build better supports for young people.
There was one particular slide that struck me in the presentation:
While still very concerning, the general trends are moving in the right direction regarding youth aged 12 – 18 in British Columbia, who reported seriously considering suicide in the past year; although 12% in 2008, this figure is down from 14% in 2003. Suicide is the second leading cause of death (behind vehicle accidents) for youth in this age range.
But, this one particular slide on the topic was striking. While students who have been physically or sexually abused reported much higher rates of suicidal ideation, for these students, there is a direct relationship between a lower rate and how connected they feel to school.
We often discuss the power one adult can have in a young person’s life, and this data dramatically displays this. While it is often said students spend a very small portion of their lives in school, if they feel connected and build engagement and trust with the adults in their school lives, the positive power can be dramatic.
More resources on building resiliency and protective factors are available here on our School District Website.