Survey results | Mental health and wellbeing
According to Statistics Canada, of all age groups, youth have experienced the greatest declines in mental health since the COVID-19 pandemic began. A recent CBC article cites that 70 per cent of youth reported a decline in their mental health during COVID’s first wave.
To gain a sense of how our students are experiencing the pandemic, a few weeks ago, students in Years 6 to 12 completed a mental health and wellbeing survey that consisted of questions from a variety of validated measurement tools related to the following areas:
- thoughts and worries
- general mood and energy
- perceived stress
- substance use
Questions were selected that included normative data for age-appropriate comparisons on the various dimensions listed above. Although the normative samples were completed during non-pandemic times, these results provide a benchmark as to how our students are functioning in relation to typical times. It’s appreciated that due to the increased stress caused by the pandemic that the results will be elevated. Dr. Geoff Sorge, the College’s psychologist, is reviewing and analyzing the results. Here are some initial themes and trends that have emerged:
- Completion rate for the survey was 47% overall (66% of Year 6 and 7; 45% of Upper).
- With respect to student levels of anxiety and worrying, both Prep and Upper reported high levels of anxiety and worrying. The general trend was that Year 11 and 12 reported more anxiety and worrying than younger years.
- Concerns related to low mood and low energy levels were reported by both Prep and Upper; however, Year 7 indicated substantially more concerns than Year 6, while over half of all Year 12 that completed the survey reported significant concerns related to mood and energy.
- A significant portion of the student population indicated moderate to high levels of perceived stress with stress levels being slightly higher with each year level (i.e., Year 12 reported the highest levels).
- Students at the Upper School completed a measure of substance use. A small percentage of students indicated risky substance use behaviours, with more use being reported by students in higher year levels.
We’re developing a multi-pronged strategy in response to the results which will include support from our Health Centre team, the continuation of targeted student wellbeing programming and the introduction of some new initiatives. As part of our initial response strategy, all students will be advised of available supports that were also identified as part of the survey. Further, Dr. Sorge and Ms. Boyce will contact students who have provided feedback that suggests specific follow up.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
Geoff Sorge, Martha Boyce and Scott Cowie