In first state survey since pandemic, Minnesota students show signs of mental health stress – Twin Cities

A three-year study of Minnesota students is causing concern at the Minnesota Department of Health after a growing number of students expressed serious suicidal thoughts and were identified as having long-term mental health problems in 2022.

The Minnesota Student Survey is a voluntary survey of more than 135,000 fifth-, eighth-, ninth-, and 11th-grade students conducted January through June every third year. Covering a wide range of topics such as school climate, bullying, substance use and more, the results paint a picture of the state’s student well-being and provide a framework for how to improve it.

In what the DOH described as an alarming trend, the 2022 survey found that 28% of Grade 11 students reported having seriously considered suicide at some point in their lives, a jump from 24% in 2019 and 23% in 2016.

These numbers are even higher for 11th graders who identify as LGBTQ+, as results showed that students in that group were three times more likely than their heterosexual peers to report thinking about suicide and four times more likely to attempt suicide. kill themselves.

Also on the rise is the number of students who report having long-term mental health problems. Nearly 30% of all students surveyed had struggled with their mental health for six months or longer, a 66.6% increase from the 2016 survey.

The group most likely to be dealing with long-term mental health issues were 11th grade females, of whom 45% identified as experienced, up from 27% in 2016. Only 20% of males in 11th grade reported struggling with long-term mental health issues.

“These results show that the pandemic has fueled and exacerbated ongoing trends in our teenagers reporting long-term mental health problems,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “More research will be needed to know the interplay of all the factors, but it is clear that this is a crisis, and Minnesotans, legislators and families need to focus resources and attention in and outside of schools to give our children and their families the connections, support, stable environments and opportunities they need to feel well-being for their lives and futures.”

Also Read :  Using student diaries for insight on their needs

Healthier behavior has also been reported

While MDH acknowledges that an increase in mental health challenges correlates with a student’s likelihood of engaging in unhealthy behaviors, Minnesota students are actually improving the way they engage in sex, drugs, alcohol and commercial tobacco.

Cigarette use among all grades has decreased by 90% since 2001, with only 2% of all students surveyed reporting smoking. Although e-cigarette use among high school students rose to 26% in the 2019 survey, that number dropped to 14% this year. Use among eighth graders has also dropped 45% over the past three years. Marijuana and alcohol use among 11th graders also decreased by an average of 25.5%.

“The Minnesota Student Survey continues to provide important data on how students are doing and highlights where we need to focus our efforts to support them,” said Minnesota Education Commissioner Heather Mueller. “This year’s research reveals a clear picture of the continued need to support students’ mental and behavioral health. The Department of Education is committed to working together with other educators, agencies and our school communities to better meet the academic, mental and behavioral health needs of our students so they can be successful in school and beyond.”

Also Read :  Morris County sheriff's "Hope One" outreach program brings aid to those experiencing substance abuse and mental health issues

In other key insights from the survey:


Only 60% of Minnesota students surveyed reported excellent or very good health compared to 65% in 2019 and 69% in the 2016 survey.

The general state of health worsened and was weaker for female students.

An increase in the consumption of energy drinks has been observed, especially among female students.

The consumption of fruits and vegetables among female students has decreased.

Girls skip lunch more often than boys.

Students did not get enough sleep, especially female students.


83% of students say they feel safe at home, at school, in their neighborhood and when walking to and from school compared to 87% in 2019 and 90% in 2016.

21% of students surveyed reported being bullied or bullied weekly in at least one way in the last 30 days. About 40% of economically disadvantaged students and 31% of LGBQ+ students reported higher rates of bullying.

Weekly bullying increased for students in all grades from 2019 to 2022.

– Fifth grade: increased from 21% to 23%

– Eighth grade: increased from 21% to 23%

– Ninth grade: increased from 18% to 19%

— 11th grade: increased from 14% to 17%

Cyberbullying increased among lower grades from 2019 to 2022.

– Fifth grade: increased from 18% to 24%

– Eighth grade: increased from 15% to 17%

– Ninth grade: increased from 14% to 15%

— 11th grade: remained the same at 12%


Educational engagement continues to decline for all students surveyed. That dropped from 75% in 2013 to 60% in 2022 for the 11th grade. This measure is based on six questions, which relate to caring about how they are doing in school, whether they pay attention in class, go to class prepared, try to learn things that interest them, think that what they learn in school is useful and that being a learner is an important part of who they are.

Also Read :  How a double bogey became the HIGH of Michelle Wie’s career

Female students miss school at higher rates than male students because they felt very sad, hopeless, anxious, stressed, or angry. Among ninth graders, 23% of girls versus 7% of boys missed school for these reasons.

Students from all grades agreed that the teachers at their school care about the students.

Compared to 2019:

Fifth grade: remained the same at 95%

Eighth grade: stayed the same at 86%

Ninth grade: stayed the same at 86%

11th grade: increased slightly from 87% to 88%

Students’ feelings of being valued and appreciated decreased for all grade levels surveyed in 2022 compared to 2019.

Fifth Grade: Reduced to 67% from 72%

Eighth Grade: Reduced to 58% to 65%

Ninth Grade: Reduced to 55% to 63%

11th grade: reduced to 55% from 61%

If you or a student you know needs free and confidential support, call 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Additionally, suicide prevention and mental health crisis messaging services in Minnesota are now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People texting 741741 will be connected to the crisis text line.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.