Results of the MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey, administered to middle school and high school students and Wellesley and other local communities last year, are in.
The survey, which is conducted every other year, shows improved results on the behavior health, physical fighting and school bullying fronts at both school levels in Wellesley, but cites mental health, cyberbullying and substance abuse or use as concerns among the town’s youths.
A handful of data points that stood out upon scanning the results:
*1 in 11 8th graders claimed to have used alcohol, a slightly higher rate than at other school surveyed. That number is up from the previous survey but down from the one before that.
*The numbers for cigarette, alcohol and pot use in Wellesley all rise or stay level grade by grade in high school. Overall, 42% of Wellesley high schoolers say they’ve used alcohol, and that’s vs. 33% in Metrowest, 40% in the state and 39% nationwide. About half of Wellesley seniors surveyed said they’ve been drunk. Use of pot is lower in Wellesley among high schoolers vs. Metrowest, the state and country, according to the survey.
*Drinking is split pretty evenly among boys and girls in high school in Wellesley, while a significantly larger % of boys smoke cigarettes and pot.
*The % of 11/12th graders who said they had driven after drinking has fall from 21% in 2006 to 7% in 2012.
*59% of seniors said they’ve driven while emailing or texting, though overall a smaller % of students admitted to this activity in 2012 than in 2010.
*Middle schoolers felt less happy and safe as they went up in grades. High schoolers generally felt safer and happier as they went along. Numbers were high among middle school and high school students when it came to having adults to talk to about personal problems.
*5% of middle schoolers say they have attempted suicide during their lives, while 3%-4% of high schoolers did, varying by grade. The Wellesley High numbers are lower than those across MetroWest, the state and the country. The survey also explores how often students have sought out adults or others to discuss mental health issues.
*More middle school girls than boys said they were bullied at school or cyberbullied in Wellesley,