Education News

VUMS student video considers youth health

VERGENNES — Recently the Vergennes Union Middle School Student Response Team created a powerful and informative video featuring interviews with youth and adults discussing mental health in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the social and political reckonings of the past few years.

The team took part in the October Getting to “Y” training at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, where they learned how to run a data analysis retreat.

Around 20 students attended the data analysis retreat in December, during which they created a visual list of assets of the school and community, and decided on priorities gleaned from their middle school Youth Risk Behavior Survey data. The group identified several strengths, including the high rate of seatbelt use in their community, the high percentage of students who eat dinner regularly with adult family members, and the high percent of students who report having trusted adults in school.

They also identified concern areas in their data around suicide ideation, alcohol use before the age of 11, students’ low perception of the harm of electronic vapor products, and the small percentage of students who said their doctors or dentists asked them about tobacco use. They decided to focus action first on their concerns around suicide ideation and created their video, which was shared at the school’s Mental Health Matters Community Event. The video can be found at tinyurl.com/ VUMS-mental-Health.

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