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Survey shows increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviors in North Carolina students

Close up of a teenager on her smartphone.
Peter Dazeley
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Getty Images
The 2021 North Carolina Youth Risk Behavior Survey data shows an increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviors among students.

The 2021 North Carolina Youth Risk Behavior Survey data shows an increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviors among students.

The survey, which was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 30 years ago, is a way to gauge what middle and high school students are experiencing as it relates to drugs, alcohol, violence, physical activity, and mental health. It’s voluntary and anonymous.

Ellen Essick with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction said the most recent data shows that mental health issues are on the rise, and just 49 percent of high school students strongly agree or agree that they feel good about themselves.

The percentage of students who reported having serious considerations of suicide in the last 12 months rose from 19% to 22%. There was a similar hike in students who had made plans for a suicide attempt.

The percentage of students who actually attempted suicide remained the same from 2019 to 2021 at 10%.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide or is in crisis, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. She has been involved in the media industry in eastern North Carolina for more than three years. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to ENC to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of toddler and baby cuddling, reading, designing costumes for children’s theater and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to westona@cravencc.edu.