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Youthline celebrates Youth 2012 survey results but urges caution

2 August, 2013


Youthline welcomes the results of the Youth 2012 survey, however urges policy makers and funders to tread carefully when making future decisions.

The Health and Wellbeing of New Zealand Secondary School Students report published by The University of Auckland and Auckland UniServices Ltd yesterday has revealed youth today are binge drinking and smoking less and driving more carefully. These results are in line with international and New Zealand based research highlighting an overall decline in risky behaviour amongst young people.

Youthline's National Spokesperson Glenda Schnell highlights the importance of noting that although this survey gives us valuable insight into the health and wellbeing of our secondary school students, it is not representative of New Zealand young people as a whole. "The report focuses specifically on young people attending secondary school and does exclude a large subset of young people who are not engaged in secondary education, and may be more likely to be considered 'at risk' due to this factor; as well as young people over 18".

The positive improvements for this group since 2001 and 2007 include aspects of school life such as liking teachers, viewing teachers as fair and adults at school caring about them. Other areas of significant improvement include a decline in risk taking behaviours such as substance use, risky driving, violence, sexual coercion and abuse.

"The positive findings of these reports is exciting and show that the work that has been done in this area is having an impact. We must be careful to not lose momentum in these areas, and continue on with the prevention and development policies and strategies that have shown success," she added.

We are of course concerned about the areas that have worsened – particularly around increases in reporting of depressive symptoms – this highlights the importance of ensuring that Youthline is able to continue to provide and promote the availability of our national, free, confidential helpline and txt services, and the message that it is okay to ask for help," Schnell said.

Youthline is also working to reduce bullying and support young people in transitioning from school into employment or training – other areas of concern highlighted by the report.
The report is the third in the Youth 2000 Survey Series. The report is based on a 2012 survey of 8500 pupils from year 9 to 13.