On October 25th, 2023, the New Brunswick Health Council (NBHC) publicly released the results from the 2022-2023 edition of the New Brunswick Student Wellness Survey.
This survey is conducted on an annual basis in all public schools across N.B. Its objective is to evaluate certain aspects of students’ wellness, including their social and emotional development, physical health, substance use, and experiences at school and in the community.
The 2022-2023 edition was completed by 5 603 parents of students in grades K to 5, 13 467 students in grades 4 and 5, as well as 44 857 students in grades 6 to 12 in November and December 2022.
“Youth mental health has been trending in the wrong direction for close to a decade, and some demographic groups are particularly vulnerable. This survey allows the NBHC to inform citizens, schools, districts, service providers, and decision-makers about the wellness of students in our province, “explains Stéphane Robichaud, Chief Executive Officer.
The NBHC has drawn the following observations from the results of the grades 6 to 12 survey, with a special focus on mental health and substance use:
- Youth’s ability to adapt to challenges is going down, while the percentage of youth who struggle with their mental health is steadily rising.
- Youth who identify as non-binary and those with a 2SLGBTQIA+ status: Compared to their peers, a smaller percentage have a high or moderate level of resilience or a high level of mental fitness, and they report worse mental health.
- Social media use, an emerging risk factor for mental health, is increasing among youth.
- Regular smoking among youth is going down, and regular vaping and cannabis use has remained relatively stable since 2021-2022.
“Although this situation is complex and multifactorial, social media use, which is increasing among youth, may be feeding the overall problem. According to research, an increase in use of social media is associated with increased mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, a subject that merits our attention,” adds Robichaud.
These results, along with all the other indicators from the 2022-2023 edition of the New Brunswick Student Wellness Survey are accessible on our website.
For interview requests, please contact:
Executive Director, Citizen Engagement