LevelUp Fargo Releases Results of Social Capital Survey

All Fargo middle schools and high schools took the survey last year

FARGO, N.D. — The mental health of a child may play a more important role when it comes to substance abuse than some may have realized.

LevelUp Fargo had all middle school and high school students in Fargo take a survey last year showing them what they can do next to combat addiction in the community.

The survey shows fighting drug addiction is more than just telling them to not abuse illegal substances.

It’s about strengthening their social connections.

“The relationship with family is number one. The second relationship is with their school or community. If one of those sectors is void by engagement by youth, occasionally you can have kids get into some issues that might not be some very healthy behaviors,” said Jeff Schatz, former Fargo Public Schools superintendent.

Schatz says students’ close connections can decline if they’re involved in too many activities, which only adds to their stress and force some to cope by resorting to other means.

One of the most eye–opening parts of the survey was how often kids said they felt lonely.

A little over 20 percent of kids who took the survey said they felt alone in their life.

“That’s concerning to me because we’re not talking enough to find out what’s going on with them. 82 percent of our kids say they spend five or more hours in their homes at night with their families but 33 percent or more aren’t sharing their thoughts or feelings even with their parents,” said Christie Rood, LevelUp program director.

The hope behind the survey is to get community members talking about ways they can help students deal with feelings of isolation and encourage them to…

“Open up. Be kind, be patient, try to find out what’s going on with young people and in the their minds so maybe we can help them and support them,” Rood said.

“We’re just a piece of the bigger part of the issue and if we can keep kids from engaging in that, obviously we’re not going to have kids that are becoming addicted to those kinds of behaviors,” Schatz said.

One in seven people are battling those addictive behaviors, but only one in 10 are receiving treatment for it, something First Lady Kathryn Burgum knows all too well.

“I’ve been recovering from alcohol addiction for over 16 years now. I knew for years that I needed help but I didn’t seek it because I was ashamed,” Burgum said.

The First Lady along with Gov. Doug Burgum will host a Recovery Reinvented seminar to get rid of the eliminate that stigma people should be afraid of telling people they need help, whether they’re a student or not.

That seminar will be next Wednesday, September 5th at the Fargo Civic Center.

Recovery Reinvented started last year in Bismarck, featuring speeches from recovering addicts, psychiatrists and advocates working to end drug addiction.

Categories: Community, Health, Local News, North Dakota News