School based programs prevent risk taking behaviour in youth

School based programs prevent risk taking behaviour in youth

Statistics showing that injuries and deaths related to risk-taking behaviour have stayed stable over recent years could be attributed to increased awareness of effects of risk-taking behaviour in youth.

Many Central West schools have been given the opportunity over the last few weeks to be part of a world-wide program showing teens the graphic effects of risk-taking behaviour.

The Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth Program (P.A.R.T.Y) has been traveling around the Central West and NSW in order to encourage teens to avoid risk-taking behaviour that can end in serious injury or death.

The program talks about a wide variety of risk taking behaviors including:

  • Speeding
  • Drinking
  • Smoking
  • Taking illicit drugs

These behaviours are an issue for youth, who are immersed into a world of peer pressure where risk-taking behaviour is encouraged on a daily basis. This infogram from the Australian Drug Foundation shows the harsh reality of what teenagers are exposed to.

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Statistics from the Australian Drug Foundation show that young adults and teenagers are exposed to substances that can cause risk-taking behaviour.

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Statistics sourced from Australian Drug Foundation

86.2% of people over the age of 14 have drunk at least once in their lives; with young Australians aged 14-24 having their first full serve of alcohol at an average age of 15.7 years.

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Statistics sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics

These behaviours continue as individuals grow older, with high rates of men and women continuing to drink and smoke in their late teens.

School teachers hope to see the benefits of these schools based programs attempting to minimise this behaviour.

High school teacher, Virginia Matthews, says safety and risk programs within schools have positive effects on students’ behaviors.

“The kids seem to learn a lot from these programs,” she said.

“They learn the reality of what can happen, it brings them back to earth and they realize they aren’t invincible,” she said.

The decrease in injuries and deaths of teenagers could be attributed to school based programs including the P.A.R.T.Y program, and similar initiatives such as RRISK and Safety Town.

The RRISK program claims research in 2009 found young drivers who attended the RRISK program had a 44% reduced risk of a car crashes, proof that these programs have direct effect on students’ behaviour.

These positive statistics are mirrored in statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

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Statistics sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rates of injuries and deaths related to risk-taking behaviour including taking illicit drugs and motor vehicle accidents have dropped in recent years.

“I believe programs like RRISK and the P.A.R.T.Y program have made a difference to the choices our students make, since introducing these programs into our curriculum we have noticed a real decrease in the risk-taking behaviour and attitudes we see as teachers,” Mrs Matthews said.

 

 

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