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Anxiety, depression increase among N.B. youth: survey

By Regis Phillips Oct 26, 2023 | 9:28 AM

New Brunswick’s mental health crisis among students isn’t going anywhere, says the province’s health council.

After surveying 60,000 students from kindergarten to grade 12, the New Brunswick Health Council found nearly 56 per cent of youth reported having symptoms of anxiety or depression.

That was up from 39.5 per cent reported during the 2015-16 school year.

CEO Stéphane Robichaud believes social media is a factor.

“An increase that youth is spending in front of a screen is time not spent for social interaction and physical education, and technology is meant to hook people into using,” Robichaud said in an interview.

Three out of five youths reported spending three or more hours per day on social media sites or apps, up from 47.7 per cent the previous school year.

The health council also shared statistics that showed a decrease in students smoking cigarettes.

The number of students in grades six to 12 using cigarettes fell from 11.2 per cent in 2015-16 to 6.7 per cent.

Meanwhile, the number of students who reported vaping remains higher at 15.6 per cent.

“Due to the ways vaping is targeted towards youths and can be bought through online stores without having to show any identification,” said Robichaud.

The full news release can be found by clicking here.