Vaping and mental health a concern for Okanagan adolescents
McCreary Centre Society today released the Okanagan regional results of the 2018 BC Adolescent Health Survey.
The survey was completed by over 38,000 of the province’s Grade 7–12 students, and included all school districts in the region. Bucking declining national trends in sports and physical activity participation, Okanagan youth were more likely to meet Canadian physical activity guidelines than five years earlier, and were also more likely than their peers across BC to engage in informal sports (such as hiking and biking) and extreme sports.
However, reflecting patterns across the province, there was an increase from five years earlier in local students who were struggling with their mental health and in those who had not accessed mental health care when they felt they needed it.
McCreary’s Executive Director Annie Smith explained: “At a time when more Okanagan youth are reporting conditions such as Anxiety Disorder, Depression and PTSD, it is concerning that 1 in 5 did not get mental health care that they felt they needed. It is particularly worrying that for 62% of the youth who missed out on care, a primary reason was not wanting their parents to know.”
Smith went on to say “Vaping also stood out to me as an issue of concern locally as 29% of Okanagan students had vaped in the month before they took the survey, but the results also gave us lots of positives such as the percentage of local students who reported having caring adults in their life, who felt safe in their community and who felt skilled and resilient.”
The most common topic Okanagan youth reported they would like to learn more about and see included in school curriculum was mental health.