What can you do?

A rise in suicide rates among youth, widespread incidence of sexual abuse on college campuses, and an increase in risk-related driving fatalities…what do these have in common?  They all made recent headlines on the evening news in a single day!*

The relentless daily onslaught of risk related headlines can be overwhelming even paralyzing. It can feel impossible to affect change in the youth we work with on issues so important – as achievable as solving world hunger or peace.  How can we make a meaningful difference against the deluge of complex, inter-related issues – across an entire population of young people?It’s true, you alone can’t solve it all – but together if each of us takes a single step or action – we can make that meaningful, measurable, difference.

Here’s What You Can Do:

  1. BE A TRUSTED ADULT – Did you know that having a trusted adult is one of the biggest factors in reducing risk among youth and young adults? You don’t have to see them every day, you don’t have all the answers, you just need to be there in the moment and ask the important questions!
  2. LEARN THE LINGO – Teens can be intimidating. And let’s be honest, at times that extends from the earliest ages of adolescence (9-11 year olds) to college-age.  There are some time-tested, science-based tips and tricks you can learn to more effectively communicate with youth.  Check out this video on adolescent-specific motivational interviewing in action  And visit our new website to learn more Teen Speak.
  3. START THE CONVERSATION – 75% of deaths in youth are related to risky behaviors; yet only 21% of organizations use a standardized risk screening tool. Why the disparity?  Lots of possibilities – it’s an uncomfortable topic to broach, limitations on time and resources, or you just may not know how to respond when risks are identified. For insight on what you should look for in standardized, youth-specific assessment tool check out our assessment checklist.  And to learn more about the RAAPS risk identification and reduction system (which was created specifically to overcome all of these barriers and more) visit Possibilities for Change.


*It probably won’t surprise you to learn that each of the headline-grabbing risks making the news of late are issues screened for and identified by RAAPS – as RAAPS screens for each of the issues contributing most to preventable illness and death among youth and young adults.  What you might not know is that the providers and professionals using RAAPS are actually ahead of the curve – identifying AND REDUCING emerging risks among youth and young adults well ahead of available public health data and trends analysis.

Compare the key findings from the recently released 2017 “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System” report from the CDC to the RAAPS data released in February 2013 from Possibilities for Change:

“Sex and drug use are on the decline among US teens. Other health risks – including suicidal ideation and bullying – do not appear to be subsiding” 2017 YRBS Report from the CDC “Anger management, depression and bullying are more prevalent health risks for youth age 11-20 than drug use, alcohol consumption and unprotected sex.” 2013 RAAPS Data from Possibilities for Change

Key Takeaways?

  1. Just “being there” really does matter.
  2. Do some homework – ramp up your Teen Speak!
  3. Ask the questions. Teens and young adults need you to start the conversation.

You can make a difference, do one thing today and two tomorrow! Start local and together we’ll make a global impact.