New Guidelines to Help Address Risk Behaviors in Adolescents

Did you know that according to the CDC nearly three out of every four teens that were seriously injured or killed, high risk behaviors were the primary cause?  So, it begs the question, how can we effectively screen for physical, emotional and social health risk factors to prevent those high risk behaviors? 

Data from the national Rapid Assessment for Adolescent Preventive Services (RAAPS) survey completed by 20,000 youth in school-based health centers across Michigan indicates a significant and rising new set of risks facing teens today that reinforces the need for behavioral health risk screening as part of assessing total health risk factors.

The Michigan RAAPS data shows:

  • –  More than one quarter of teens surveyed – 28 percent – say they have trouble managing anger and admit to doing things that get them “in trouble” when they are angry.
  • –  24 percent of teens reported depression, responding that they have feelings of sadness or that they have nothing to look forward to.
  • –  Bullying continues to rise in prevalence, with more than 16 percent of teens surveyed reporting they have been threatened, teased or made to feel afraid.

All of these mental health issues affected a higher percentage of middle and high school youth than the risks more commonly associated with teen populations. Illicit drug and alcohol use was reported by 13 percent of total respondents, with 19 percent reported by high school-aged youth.

MDCH and Michigan Quality Improvement Consortium (MQIC) worked collaboratively with a group of practitioners and adolescent health experts to develop recommendations for assessing risk behaviors which most impact adolescent health. These recommendations have been compiled into the Adolescent Health Risk Behavior Assessment Clinical Practice Guideline, for health care providers to identify the riskiest behaviors, along with counseling strategies shown to be most effective in helping teens change their behavior. According to those recommendations, RAAPS is a developmentally appropriate screening tool to identify risk in adolescents.

For more information about the RAAPS data, visit our home page. The MQIC Adolescent Health Risk Behavior Assessment clinical practice guideline and the four recommended screening tools can be found hereClick here to view our latest press release on behalf of MDCH.


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