GRAYLING – Stress issues, depression and mental health, and teen substance abuse top the list of issues the youth of Crawford, Ogemaw and Oscoda Counties feel are affecting their peers, according to a recent assessment conducted among youth in those communities.
The North Central Michigan Youth Advisory Councils (YAC) recently completed a Youth Needs Assessment Survey, gathering the opinions on the known issues currently affecting youth. YAC is a youth philanthropy program through the North Central Michigan Community Foundation (NCMCF) which teaches young people the importance of philanthropy, and helps them develop leadership skills through grantmaking and community service.
Every three years, Youth Advisory Councils throughout Michigan are required to survey their fellow youth to gain insight into the issues the youth feel are the most pressing for their local communities. The final results of the survey are used to guide the Council’ grantmaking for the next three years to address those issues. Grants from the North Central Michigan Youth Advisory Councils are awarded through the Crawford, Ogemaw and Oscoda County Kellogg Youth Endowment Funds at the Community Foundation.
‘One of the most important things we see from conducting this survey is the changes over time in the issues that come out on top,’ said Oscoda County YAC Advisor Kevin Salsbury. ‘This year, stress and mental health issues were much more prominent than in our last survey three years ago, and substance abuse among teenagers has remained one of the top concerns. I think those things are symptoms of the general need in our communities, and are issues that need to be addressed across the board.’
Once survey results are compiled, the list is narrowed down to the 11 issues sited most as needing attention. Those 11 issues for the 2018 survey are:
- Stress issues
- Depression and mental health
- Teen substance abuse
- Self-esteem issues
- Teen suicide
- Bullying and/or cyber bullying
- Body image / appearance issues; and much more.
The North Central Michigan Youth Advisory Councils will begin using this list with their current round of grants, which will be reviewed in February.
‘Not all of the grant applications that come to the Youth Advisory Council address the topics in this survey, and they don’t have to,’ said Salsbury. ‘But we do hope the results of the survey encourage local agencies to develop or continue efforts in tackling these issues, and we’ve got some grant funding to help them out in doing that.’
For more information visit www.ncmcf.org.
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