Columbia Talks Teen Health
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Department of Public Health met Tuesday to reveal results of a survey on adolescent health. More than 35 people from other health and youth organizations came to join forces against the many issues facing teens in Columbia.
The research was done by a graduate student from the University of Missouri who focuses on public and mental health. Liz Gabhart said the research took about four months to complete. "We started late August and finished by December 15th," she said. The surveys were distributed to Columbia Public School students from the ages 10-19. Professionals were also asked to participate in the research.
Health Educator with Boone county Maureen Coy said she thinks funding shouldn't focus just on younger children. "I think it's really important that the community focus on the second decade. A lot of resources go to early childhood, but I think we need to have resources go to adolescents too," Coy said. She also hopes the community can prevent health issues from getting worse rather than waiting until a problem arises to take action.
One result from the survey: 20% of students said they've felt sad "often or always" during the last 30 days. More than 25% say they've felt "very grouchy or irritable". 73% of teachers and administrators added to this idea by saying they believe mental health (depression/anxiety) serves as the biggest gap in health services for teens. The students said issues with school, family, or time management contributed to their unhappiness
Other issues discussed at the event were teen eating habits, drugs, alcohol and sexual activity.