The views of more than 5000 school pupils are set to shape the way health and education services for young people in Renfrewshire are provided in future.
Pupils in S1-S6 from 11 secondary schools, one special needs school and one alternative provision unit took part in a major study into the health and wellbeing of young people.
The study, which was commissioned by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership and local community planning partners, saw pupils answer detailed questionnaires on topics including pupils’ feelings, health, relationships, bullying, discrimination, behaviour and services for young people.
The Health and Wellbeing Survey of Secondary School Age Young People in Renfrewshire highlighted both positive and negative findings about young people’s behaviour and social circumstances and the results will now be used to shape policy and as a basis for future comparison.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Derek Mackay, chair of the Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership (RCHP) said: “This study gives us an in-depth look into the lives of young people in Renfrewshire. It provides us with a clear and detailed picture of the issues and difficulties they are facing and the areas where we are succeeding in providing the right support and services for them.
“The results of this survey will enable us, along with our community planning partners, to further target those areas where more work is needed and to build upon the many areas where we are doing well.
“All of this is good news for young people in Renfrewshire. We are listening to their views and feelings and it is them who are helping us to shape the services and support that they need.”
Fiona MacKay, Renfrewshire CHP’s Head of Planning and Health Improvement and Chair of the Healthier Renfrewshire Group, said: “The survey shows a complex picture of the health issues faced by Renfrewshire’s young people.
“We will now work closely with the council and other agencies to bring forward a long term plan that will focus on addressing the issues raised in the report.
“The survey has been a very useful exercise and also highlights the value of giving young people a voice in relation to their own health and wellbeing.”
The majority of the funding for the survey was provided by the Fairer Scotland Fund.
Of the 5,557 pupils surveyed 81% said they felt happy or very happy about themselves over the past year and 82% felt they had some or a lot of control over the way their lives are going.
Two thirds of pupils surveyed said they had never tried smoking and 83% said they regularly took part in physical activity.
In terms of relationships, 87% said they had received sexual health and relationship education at school and, of these, 88% said that this had prepared them well or very well for forming and dealing with relationships.
86% of pupils felt that their school had prepared them for the future very well or fairly well and 7 in 10 said they hoped to go on to further education.
Of the pupils taking part, 1250 were living with a family member with a disability or long-term illness, or a drug or alcohol problem. Three in five of these said they had spent time caring for that family member.
Pupils in the most deprived areas, those with a limiting illness or disability and young carers were more likely to have been bullied in the last year.
31% of pupils were classified as ‘high depression’, with girls, young carers and pupils with a limiting illness or disability were more likely than others to be in this category.
Councillor Lorraine Cameron, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, said: “The majority of pupils are in good health, with 83% regularly taking part in physical activity and 50% taking part in team sports like football and netball. However, those with high depression scores were more likely to have taken no exercise in the last week.
“We have an ongoing Active Renfrewshire Strategy and one of the key aims is to get more young people leading active healthy lifestyles. We have a programme of after-school, lunchtime and out of school clubs with strong links to local sports clubs which give pupils the chance to try new activities which they may otherwise not get the opportunity to experience. We are currently looking into ways of further strengthening the Council’s youth services.
“We have also launched a programme of youth activities being taken out into the communities where there is a lack of services and higher instances of anti-social behaviour. This includes the Renfrewshire youth bus and mobile football pitches with coaching from St Mirren Football Club.
“The Council have also recently approved a review of our anti-bullying policy to bring it up to date with issues facing young people today such as cyber-bullying.
“This report will further help us to provide the right kind of services to meet the needs of local young people.”
For further information contact 0141 201 4429.