Survey shows high depression among Roanoke students

Results show nearly 40 percent of high schoolers said they felt depressed

By Tommy Lopez - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - New survey results that show high levels of heroin use among students in Roanoke City Public Schools also show high levels of depression.

The Roanoke Prevention Alliance administered a survey in March to 2,000 students. Nearly 40 percent of high schoolers said they felt depressed in the last month, a small increase from two years ago. More than a quarter of middle school students said they felt depressed.

Fourteen percent of middle school students and 21 percent of high schoolers said they have attempted suicide.

Those conducting the survey said the rise in social media plays a role.

"We are very concerned about how the kids have reported on that," Roanoke Prevention Alliance board member Susan Rieves-Austin said.

School officials echo that sentiment and say the conditions these students face at home contribute as well.

"Obviously there will never be enough services until we make a commitment as a society to treat mental health issues, but I think that we have more than most," Roanoke City Schools Superintendent Dr. Rita Bishop said.

Bishop said the city has extensive resources, including new psychiatry services, for students dealing with depression.

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