A new Idaho State Department of Education survey of high school aged kids has revealed that approximately 20% of those chosen to participate have admitted to having thoughts of suicide.

The latest department survey, which is conducted every two years at high school campuses across Idaho, included feedback from more than 1,200 students (ages 14-18) at over 40 campuses across the Gem State. The Idaho Youth Risk Behavior Survey is an effort by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to gauge current habits of grade nine through 12 students, in an attempt to promote safety and extend assistance to those who may need it.

Part of the responsibility of the Department of Education is to implement these types of statewide assessments. Tobacco use, alcohol and drug use, sexual habits, diet, physical activity and intentional, self-inflicted injury, are all key focus areas included in the YRBS, which consist of 97 multiple choice questions.

Nearly 50% of those ages 14-18 who participated in this year's survey admit to frequently texting and driving, and 20% admit to having thoughts of seriously considering suicide. For those who admitted to having attempted suicide in the past year, 9.6% said they had.

As far as the breakdown of race by those who took part in this year's YRBS, 76.5% surveyed were white, followed by 16.8% Latino/Hispanic, with 5.3% being classified as multiple or other race, and finally 1.5% listed as African American.

Of the four high school grades taking part in the 2019 survey, freshman students made up the largest percentage of those who took the survey, with 27.4% participation.

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