Adolescence is a time of major transition, when youth develop many of the habits that will influence their future health and well-being. While most youth are healthy, others engage in risky behaviors that can jeopardize their health and, ultimately, adversely affect their health as adults.
The 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) reported unmet mental health needs among adolescents, with 28.5 percent reporting feeling sad or hopeless for more than two consecutive weeks.
The survey results indicate that many high school students are engaged in risky behaviors associated with the leading causes of death among persons aged 10–24 years in the United States.
- Nearly 33 percent of high school students nationwide had texted or e-mailed while driving
- Nearly 39 percent had drunk alcohol
- 23 percent had used marijuana
- Almost 33 percent of students had been in a physical fight
- More than 20 percent had been bullied on school property
- Nearly 8 percent had attempted suicide
- Many high school students nationwide are engaged in sexual risk behaviors associated with unintended pregnancies and STDs, including HIV infection.
San Francisco high school students face the same issues as adolescents nationwide. These areas – behavioral, mental, and reproductive health services – present the most urgent needs and form the bulk of the services offered through the Wellness Initiative. If left unaddressed, absenteeism and low academic achievement are the most likely consequences.
Students from all different backgrounds come to Wellness Centers for support with all different kinds of issues. Meet several of them from six different high schools in San Francisco.