SURVEY RESULTS: 13% Of WHS & WMS Students Have Considered Suicide, Significant Number Of Attempts Reported

WILMINGTON, MA – At its latest meeting, the Wilmington School Committee was given a report summarizing the results of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey that was administered to Wilmington High School and Wilmington Middle School students last spring.

IMPORTANT NOTES: The CDC has managed the Youth Risk Behavior Survey since 1990. Questions varied between the high school and middle schools surveys, in part, because the high school survey was based on the national version and the middle school survey was based on the Massachusetts version.  Students answered the questions anonymously during a single class period.  Parents were able to opt their children out. 794 middle school students and 707 high school students responded. Invalid responses (e.g., blatant lying) were not included in the results.  There’s just a 1% margin or error for middle school results and a 2% margin of error for high school results.

The report was divided into EIGHT sections.  Below is a summary of the section concerning suicide-related behaviors and thoughts.

Hurt or injured self on purpose in the past 12 months:

  • 17.9% of 9th graders
  • 12.6% of 10th graders
  • 6.8% of 11th graders
  • 14.7% of 12th graders

Feelings of sadness or hopelessness for two weeks or more in a row in the past 12 months:

  • 29.1% of 9th graders
  • 15.6% of 10th graders
  • 23.0% of 11th graders
  • 18.8% of 12th graders

Seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months:

  • 15.1% of 9th graders
  • 12.0% of 10th graders
  • 14.9% of 11th graders
  • 10.7% of 12th graders

Made a suicide plan in the past 12 months:

  • 11.7% of 9th graders
  • 8.4% of 10th graders
  • 13.0% of 11th graders
  • 8.1% of 12th graders

Attempted suicide in the past 12 months:

  • 7.8% of 9th graders
  • 6.6% of 10th graders
  • 5.0% of 11th graders
  • 10.2% of 12th graders

Seriously considered attempting suicide in your life:

  • 9.4% of 6th graders
  • 11.1% of 7th graders
  • 19.3% of 8th graders

Made a suicide plan in your life:

  • 6.8% of 6th graders
  • 4.3% of 7th graders
  • 14.2% of 8th graders

Attempted suicide in your life:

  • 1.7% of 7th graders
  • 2.8% of 8th graders
  • 5.8% of 8th graders
Suicide
Key slide from the presentation

The full high school report can be read HERE. The full middle school report can be read HERE.

“We recognize that social emotional learning needs to be a school-wide initiative, not just school psychologists and guidance counselors,” said Student Support Services Director Alice Brown-Legrand, who notes that the district’s recent initiatives on social emotional learning aren’t fully captured in these numbers.

Brown-Legrand noted, for example, that the “Signs of Suicide” (S.O.S.) Prevention Program was just implemented the Middle School this fall and, to start, is focused exclusively on 7th Grade. Learn more about S.O.S. HERE.

Watch the latest Wilmington School Committee Meeting below, courtesy of Wilmington Community Television. The presentation on the survey results begins around the 16-minute.

 

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