Did you know that nearly ¾ of New Mexico high school youth have visited a dentist in the last six months, but those who have not seen a dentist are
- 3 times more likely to use tobacco,
- 2 times as likely to drink alcohol, and
- 6 times as likely to drink three or more servings of soda daily?
The source of this (and much more) information is the 2015 Youth Risk and Resiliency (YRRS) survey of high school students. At a recent meeting I attended, Dan Green of the NM Department of Health and Cris Ortiz of the NM Public Education Department shared this and a great deal of other information with a group seeking to improve behavioral health. In addition to presenting some highlights from the 2015 high school survey, they shared information on how users can access information from the both the most recent and past surveys. YRRS data can be accessed at the YRRS website, http://youthrisk.org The YRRS is conducted by a partnership that also includes the University of New Mexico’s Prevention Research Center.
The YRRS is one of the best resources available for planning behavioral health programs for youth. The study covers a number of areas, including substance use, resiliency factors such as parental involvement and housing stability, basic health information, and the experience of adverse events such as sexual violence. The survey is administered every other year in school districts throughout the state, and is part of a national project: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS).
YRRS in New Mexico
The New Mexico survey is unique from surveys in other states administering the YRBSS in that it asks additional questions related to resiliency, as well as questions of specific interest to New Mexicans. New Mexico is also fairly unique in its commitment to ensuring survey participation and large survey pools – it is one the few states participating in the YRBSS that collects enough surveys to be able to offer data on a county level.