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Utah releases a survey on mental health and drug use among high school students

Posted at 1:45 PM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 15:45:31-04

The State of Utah just released its latest survey results on high school drug use and mental health.

To learn more about the survey, we invited Shane Petersen, CEO of the LifeLine for Youth Program on the show.

Petersen says according to the survey teen drug use is down from previous years, but this is likely temporary due to the pandemic.

But, acute, crisis-level mental health symptoms indicating a high need for treatment increased by 28 percent. That's the highest increases ever.

Petersen has been working with thousands and teens and their families for more than 30 years and offers this advice to parents.

There is no "quick fix", but it's important that parents talk often with their teens about what they and their friends are doing. Talk about drugs and alcohol and your expectations.

Petersen says avoid creating shame for their mistakes. He says shame creates the sense of failure that make teens more likely to make more poor choices.

Know who their friends are.

Parents will also want to know the difference from 'normal teen behavior' and what they should be concerned about.

Things like a change in friends, dropping grades, lost interest in hobbies, mood changes, change in sleeping habits, isolating from family and friends or having family conflicts, call all be reason for concern.

If you have questions you can call LifeLine at 801-936-4000 or visit