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Male Ontario students show declines in fighting; females show elevated bullying and mental distress
Date:7/24/2012

For Immediate Release July 24, 2012 (Toronto) An ongoing survey of Ontario students in grades 7 to 12 conducted for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) shows that while the majority of students have healthy relationships and report overall good mental and physical health, some negative trends, especially among girls, have raised concerns.

The 2011 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS) Mental Health and Well-Being Report released today reveals important trends in mental and physical health and risk behaviours among Ontario students.

Psychological distress and suicidal ideation

The number of students reporting psychological distress has remained high at around 34 per cent since tracking began in 1999. "Many of these students express feelings of unhappiness and depression, anxiety, social dysfunction, constant stress or loss of sleep," said Dr. Robert Mann, CAMH Senior Scientist and lead investigator on the study. "What is concerning in this year's survey is that among female students, this rate has risen to 43 per cent, up from 36 per cent in the 1999 survey. Also, girls are reporting distress at a disproportionately high rate compared to 24 per cent of boys who reported these feelings."

Along with psychological stress and poor body image, suicidal ideation is a concern among female students. The survey showed that girls report both contemplating (14 per cent) and attempting suicide (4 per cent) at twice the rate as the boys surveyed.

Bullying and anti-social behaviour

Bullying behaviours also remain a concern, with 29 per cent of students an estimated 288,000 students reporting being the victim of bullying while at school. This has not significantly changed since the first time it was measured in 2003. However, cyber-bullying, a new measure in the 2011 survey, was reported by one in five students. This represents an estimated 217,000 students in Ontario.


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Contact: Michael Torres
media@camh.ca
416-595-6015
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Source:Eurekalert

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