The cancellation of the Duval County youth risk behavior survey in Florida is an issue of great concern. The survey collected data on youth suicide and drug abuse rates, providing valuable information that could be used to help young people in the county. The cancellation of the survey, which was prompted by concerns about the survey's leading questions, has been criticized as irresponsible and dangerous to children.
The 2021 survey showed that nearly one in four middle school students had made a plan to die by suicide, over 16% of high school students reported attempting suicide in the 12 months before the survey, and more than 21% of high school students and 17% of middle school students said they abused prescription drugs. These numbers are alarming and show the severity of the issue.
The decision to cancel the survey sends a message that the county is not taking the issue of youth suicide and drug abuse seriously. Without the survey data, it will be much more difficult for organizations and individuals to identify and address the root causes of these problems. The lack of data will also make it more difficult to measure progress in reducing youth suicide and drug abuse rates over time.
This decision is especially concerning given the current climate, with many young people struggling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increased stress and isolation for many. The cancellation of the survey sends a message that the county is not willing to invest in the mental and physical health of its young people, which is unacceptable.
The Aqua Foundation, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, has highlighted the importance of supporting young people, especially those in vulnerable communities. They provide safe spaces and resources for youth and focus on education and development. Their work is vital in supporting young people and promoting a healthier community.
The cancellation of the Duval County youth risk behavior survey is a severe issue that must be addressed. We cannot afford to ignore the needs of our young people, and we must take action to support them. We call on the county to reinstate the survey and take action to address the root causes of youth suicide and drug abuse. Our young people's lives depend on it.