BY MAIRE O’NEILL
A report produced from data obtained through the biannual New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (YRRS), a project that characterizes risk behaviors and resiliency/protectors among New Mexico Youth is being closely reviewed by leadership at Los Alamos Public Schools, Superintendent Dr. Kurt Steinhaus said Tuesday.
The YRRS is a joint project of the New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Public Education Department along with the University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center.
“Leadership at LAPS has already developed a plan for building on strengths and addressing growth areas identified in multiple years of YRRS data reports,” Steinhaus said. “We have taken a first look at the 2017 YRRS data and will continue to analyze the information as one reference point to help us prioritize and plan prevention programs.”
The YRRS report for Los Alamos County indicates that the survey was taken by 349 students – 194 girls and 155 boys – in grades 9-12. To reach the full report, click here: http://youthrisk.org/pdf/YRRS-2017-HS-countyreport-losalamos.pdf
Three high priority risk behaviors that emerged in the 2017 report for Los Alamos students related to sadness, suicidal ideation and bullying.
Some 31.5 percent of students said they were bullied on school property compared with 18 percent statewide. Electronic bullying appears to have affected 22.6 percent of students in 2017, up from 16.7 percent in 2015.
While the statewide percentage for students who feel sadness or hopelessness was 36 percent, the Los Alamos number was at 33.2 percent.
The percentage of students in Los Alamos who said they seriously considered suicide was 21.2 compared with 18.3 percent statewide. Some 18.3 percent said they had planned a suicide compared with 16 percent statewide while 7.6 percent said they had attempted suicide compared with 10.2 percent statewide.
The good news about Los Alamos students is reflected in the survey answers related to resilience and factors that protect youth from harm.
“Some examples of protective factors include having a caring adult in your life, being involved in extracurricular activities and having a plan for continued education after high school,” Steinhaus said.
Noteworthy percentages in the report include:
- 88.2 percent of Los Alamos youth surveyed said a parent or other adult believes they will be a success
- 83.3 percent said a teacher or other adult believes they will be a success
- 73 percent said they are involved in sports, clubs or other extracurricular activities
- 80.9 percent said there is an adult who really cares about them
- 70.5 percent said they are involved in music, art, literature, sports as a hobby
- 85.6 percent said they have a friend about their own age who really cares about them
- 93 percent said they plan to go to college or some other school after high school
Steinhaus said it is important to continue in the schools and with parents and community partners to build protective factors while implementing evidence-based strategies to address the sadness, suicide ideation and bullying risk behaviors. He said the next steps for LAPS include professional development for all staff focused on areas prioritized from the data in the report. This will include Kognito mental health awareness training and Bystander Intervention training.
In addition, Los Alamos High School Risk and Resiliency Assessment Project for Students leaders are hosting a YRRS data retreat with their fellow students on Nov. 17 to select their top three strengths and top three concerns and possible solutions from a youth perspective, Steinhaus said.