Cook County Public Health Presents Data from 2022 Minnesota Student Survey--Forming Substance Use Prevention Coalition

Cook County Public Health presented a significant amount of data that resulted from the 2022 Minnesota Student Survey, a statewide effort . The Survey was conducted from January to June last year with fifth, eighth, ninth and eleventh grade students from across the state. Participation in the survey was completely voluntary and anonymous.

Begun in 1989 and conducted every three years since, the Survey had 70% of school districts participating with 135,000 students, down from 81% of districts and 170,000 students in 2019.

The internet accessed survey included questions about school climate, out-of-school activities, healthy eating, emotional health, substance use, and connections with school and family. 

The survey is extensive and focuses on the well being of students from bullying to gender identity. It also surveyed the accessibility of technology. 

The Cook County presentation is focused on local student mental health and substance use and is held at the Cook County Higher Education building in Grand Marais. It is recorded for future use. Check the Public Health portion of the county website for availability.

According to the Survey, one in five students reported being bullied or harassed on a weekly basis. Sixty percent reported excellent or very good health, down from sixty-nine percent in the 2016 survey.

Almost a third of survey respondents report long term (six months or more) mental health problems and 28% of eleventh graders said they had seriously considered suicide in at least one point in their life.

In addition to presenting the survey, Cook County Public Health is forming a Substance Use Prevention Coalition to address youth substance use and abuse, prevention, treatment, and recovery. Specifically the Coalition will:

Identify what substance use concerns exist

Determine how risk and protective factors affect use

Identify evidence-based programs to address substance abuse

Examine community readiness for potential prevention, treatment and recovery programs

Develop goals and strategies for use prevention and treatment and measure the effectiveness of efforts toward those goals.

Cook County Public Health is looking for members of the community to join the coalition. If you are willing to serve, contact Andrea Orest by phone at 218-220-5536 or email at Orest, the Public Health Educator, is especially interested in adding members to the coalition who are current or past users of abused substances. “Your voice is especially valuable, as lived experience provides a necessary perspective,” she said.

The Minnesota departments of Corrections, Education, Health, Human Services and Public Safety collaborate with schools to administer the Student Survey which is the primary source of comprehensive data on youth at the state, county and local levels. It is the only consistent source of statewide data on the health and well-being of youth from smaller population groups, such as racial or ethnic groups. All school districts are invited to participate.

The full reports on the survey can be found at the Minnesota Department of Health website