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Assets in Action: Results of 2018 YRRS survey

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

This week, I am suggesting just one thing for you to do and that is to talk to your kids about the issue of bullying in their lives or as they see it?

The newest data on our youth is out and I’m not sure when or if you will hear about it. The YRRS is the Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey and it is a snapshot in the life of our youth. Pages eight and nine boil a 117-page report into something bite size, so you can get a good glimpse at how things look.

This is done every other year and the reports for Los Alamos and every other county are online. If you feel like the sample size is too small, then just look back to 2015, when we literally surveyed every sixth- through 12th-grade student.

Here’s a small 2017 nutshell:

• Bullied on school property 31.5 percent

• Physical dating violence 11.3 percent

• Forced to do sexual things (by anyone) 12.8 percent

• Seriously considered suicide 21.2 percent

• Non-suicidal self-injury 24.5 percent

These data points may not all appear to be related to bullying, but the topics can easily be linked together, I assure you.

We can’t solve all problems, or make life safe at all times, but we can help youth along the way. We need to ask them how these topics are present in their lives and how we can help? Sometimes as adults we talk around our kids, but not involve them in the actual conversation.

If you weren’t aware, youth talk to each other all of the time. The problem is, they might not always know the answers or how to get help.

The truth is, we might not know either. If we build the relationships with our kids and their friends, they always know they have a safe place to come.

The answers aren’t neatly packed into one column, but the start of the journey just might be there.

If we are only talking about things involving homework or grades, how will the important topics ever come into play?

What we are seeing again and again in the national conversation is that people of all ages have been bullied, sexually assaulted or suicidal at some point in their life. We also hear that many people never tell anyone at all, perhaps ever.

We need to at least try and get some safe conversations to take place now.

You can always talk to school counselors and there are local programs to help. Another seemingly Los Alamos problem is, that we don’t want anyone to know our business, so we don’t talk at all.

So, do a little research on-line and find a reputable 1-800 number with a properly trained professional on the other end and ask anything at all.

Find the full report at youthrisk.org.