Maryland Department of Health releases 2021-2022 Youth Risk Behavior Survey and Youth Tobacco Survey data
Key findings show substance use decline, mental health challenges and stressors increase during the pandemic
Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) today released the results of the 2021-2022 Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey and Youth Tobacco Survey (YRBS/YTS).
For the first time, the survey addressed mental health status, COVID-19, screen time, disability, and additional information on adverse childhood experiences. Survey findings show that the COVID-19 pandemic greatly affected the mental health of Maryland youth. The survey also finds a reduction in the use of tobacco products, alcohol, and marijuana for high school students. However, there was an increase in alcohol initiation and prescription drug misuse at the middle school level.
“While we see some encouraging results, there is clear data indicating a need for continued comprehensive approaches to support mental health and limit tobacco, alcohol, and drug use," said MDH Secretary Dr. Laura Herrera Scott. “Now that students have returned to schools after navigating arduous challenges heightened by the pandemic, we can address findings through youth-centered health programming, education and outreach."
School-based services that promote mental health support and positive childhood experiences are critical for students. MDH continues to expand youth-specific crisis services across the state including through the Mobile Response and Stabilization Services intervention for children and caregivers in the early phase of a crisis, and the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline for anyone experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, having thoughts of suicide, or being worried about someone who may need crisis support. Continue reading the full press release here