By Monica Nunes, CAMH HPRC
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has just released its biannual report on student mental health and well-being in Ontario. The data derives from the 2015 edition of the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS), the longest running school survey of adolescents in Canada, and one of the longest-running surveys in the world.
The 2015 results show that more than one in three – an estimated 328,000 Ontario students in grades 7 to 12 report moderate-to-serious psychological distress, a 10 per cent jump since 2013. Girls are twice as likely as boys to experience psychological distress.
Other striking trends include:
- Seventeen per cent of students rate their mental health as fair or poor, a 6 per cent increase since 2013
- The number of students prescribed medication for anxiety , depression or both in the previous year doubled since 2001
- View an infographic on mental health trends
Screen time and social media use
- Overall, screen time and social media use is high. More than half (63 per cent) of students spend 3 or more hours per day in front of TV or tablet/computer in their free time.
- Eighty-six per cent of students visit social media sites daily and 16 per cent spend five or more hours on social media per day
- View an infographic on screen time and social media use trends
- An estimated 122,600 (13 per cent) of students in Ontario report symptoms of a video gaming problem which includes associated preoccupation, loss of control, withdrawal and disregard for consequences
- The percentage of students indicating a video gaming problem in 2015 (13 per cent) is significantly higher than the percentage in 2007 (9 per cent), the first year of monitoring
- Problem video gaming is especially prevalent among boys (20 per cent) rather than girls (5 per cent)
The Provincial System Support Program and the Evidence Exchange Network (EENet) at CAMH have been maintaining a strong knowledge exchange partnership with the OSDUHS research team to share this evidence widely. Most recently, PSSP hosted the first webinar in a two part-series sharing the OSDUHS results on drug use among students which you can check out on EENet’s website. Part two of the webinar series is scheduled for October 5th from 11:00am-12:30pm and will focus on how program planners and policy makers use the OSDUHS data. Stay tuned for registration information! In the New Year, PSSP and EENet will also host webinars focusing on the mental health and well-being results.
Access the full OSDUHS mental health and well-being report: http://www.camh.ca/en/research/news_and_publications/ontario-student-drug-use-and-health-survey/Documents/2015%20OSDUHS%20Documents/2015OSDUHS_Detailed%20MentalHealthReport.pdf