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UPDATE: Thoughts of suicide among VI youth alarming-Report

- Mean reported age for sexual debut among boys was 12.2 & 13.5 for girls
A report laid in the House of Assembly has stated that according to a recent survey, young people in the Virgin Islands are engaged in unsafe health practices and are therefore at risk for a number of health problems related to lifestyle choices and behaviour. Photo: VINO/File
Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon. Ronnie W. Skelton said he found the report as a troubling one. “These findings have significant implications for the society at large and should be addressed with urgency by all relevant stakeholders.
Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon. Ronnie W. Skelton said he found the report as a troubling one. “These findings have significant implications for the society at large and should be addressed with urgency by all relevant stakeholders.
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The thought of committing suicide and actually attempting to do it among young people in the Virgin Islands are issues that ought to be of serious concern, according to the Youth Healthy and Sexuality report laid in the House of Assembly on July 25, 2013 by Minister for Health and Social Development Hon. Ronnie W. Skelton.

According to the report, 1609 in-school youth between the ages of 12 and 19 years participated in a survey which was part of the Youth Health and Sexuality Study conducted as a joint collaboration by the health authorities of the Virgin Islands and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).  

An alarming finding related to suicide, according to the study was that 22% of the young people had seriously thought about killing themselves, while 62% of the group who seriously thought about killing themselves indicated that they made a plan about how to kill themselves.

"Out of the group who made a plan to kill themselves 62% actually tried to commit suicide on one or more ocassions. Female respondents (73%) were more likely to have contemplated suicide than male respondents (51%) and also twice more or more times likely to attempt suicide," the report stated.

While the study showed about 61% of the young people perceived that health care providers treat young clients with equal respect and care, only 33% believed that health care providers could keep information confidential and 27% discussed reproductive health issues. 

Early sexual experience

The mean reported age for sexual debut among boys was 12.2 years and 13.5 years among girls, according to the report.

"More than one-third (37%) of the young people reported having sexual intercourse. Male respondents were more likely to have sexual intercourse than female respondents, 47% and 28% respectively."

Nine percent of the young persons reported to be attracted to the same sex or to both sexes, the report also disclosed.

See previous article posted July 25, 2014:

Young people engaging in unsafe health practices- Hon. Skelton

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- “Young people in the Virgin Islands are engaged in unsafe health practices and are therefore at risk for a number of health problems related to lifestyle choices and behaviour,” Minister for Health and Social Development Hon. Ronnie W. Skelton stated at the tenth sitting of the second session of the second House of Assembly today, Thursday July 25, 2013.

The Health Minister was at the time commenting on the ‘Report on the Youth Health and Sexuality Survey 2012’ which he laid in the House today.

Hon. Skelton said he found the report as a troubling one. “These findings have significant implications for the society at large and should be addressed with urgency by all relevant stakeholders.”

It was said that the Health Ministry embarked on an assessment of secondary school students to better understand their school environment and their self perception. He further said the study was designed to generate strategic information and baseline data in an effort to design and deliver more effective service for young persons in the Virgin Islands.

A total of 1609 students within the age group of 12 and 19 participated in the survey and focused group interviews.

Areas covered, according to Hon. Skelton, included peer relationships, family relationships, sexual and reproductive health, HIV, gender perception, access and utilisation of Health services, substance use, social and mental health, school and work experiences, nutrition, physical health and hygiene.

“Madam Speaker this study revealed that the young people in the Virgin Islands are engaged in unsafe health practices and are therefore at risk for a number of health problems related to lifestyle choices and behaviour,” Hon. Skelton concluded.

He said the findings of the survey are being shared with pastors, policy makers, teachers, legislators, parents and other relevant stakeholders to enable development of the necessary strategies, interventions, policies, legislation, programmes and services to address the cause of adolescent health problems.

It was noted that some 17 specific recommendations have been made towards strengthening the Territory’s capacity to improve awareness and promote healthier lifestyles among the Territory’s adolescents. “This includes promoting healthy lifestyle, sexual reproductive health, developing programmes to strengthen relationships between parents and children and establishing and reinforcing legislation to better protect the health and rights of young people.”

22 Responses to “UPDATE: Thoughts of suicide among VI youth alarming-Report”

  • Hmmmmm (25/07/2013, 12:52) Like (14) Dislike (96) Reply
    “Young people in the Virgin Islands are engaged in unsafe practices and are therefore at risk for a number of problems related to lifestyle choices and behaviour,” Minister for Health and Social Development Hon. Ronnie W. Skelton. The main unsafe practice was voting for NDP and believing in change
    • A (25/07/2013, 15:07) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
      @Hmmmmm Yeah NDP was the children engaging in risky behaviour. What about the parents an such. You're an Assmust Hmmmmm
  • DON Q (25/07/2013, 13:09) Like (12) Dislike (28) Reply
    what about adults doing the same?
  • RT Rebel (25/07/2013, 13:13) Like (4) Dislike (28) Reply

    Hmmm ur ignorant @rse. "Some" young people have problems not all. skelton you cannot collectively say all young people.

  • jtv (25/07/2013, 13:27) Like (14) Dislike (41) Reply
    But ronnie never said one word on what he will do!
    • concerned citizen (25/07/2013, 17:00) Like (0) Dislike (6) Reply
      "It was noted that some 17 specific recommendations have been made towards strengthening the Territory’s capacity to improve awareness and promote healthier lifestyles among the Territory’s adolescents. " just thought I would point that out
  • Sick (25/07/2013, 16:38) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    i am just sick of all these long statement with no meat behind them
  • JJJ (25/07/2013, 18:16) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Minister Of Health need to take a good, hard look , make some very strong proposals and we take it from there.
  • A mus behind not (25/07/2013, 19:49) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply
    Requests for Anul intercourse is on the rise also.
  • my yute (26/07/2013, 00:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Catch me if you can my yute
  • . (26/07/2013, 00:33) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why he didn't say that around election time?
  • time (30/07/2013, 15:33) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    too much time on dem hand
  • Sherry (30/07/2013, 15:45) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    bullying in school should be monitored more than it is now. I was sitting in traffic in front of the police station in town when school was out, and on the side of the road was an altercation where 5 girls were beating another girl on the road! I kept yelling stop it stop it. There was a policewoman there directing traffic and did nothing to investigate. people stood around and watched.... this is disgusting and I have no doubt that this kind of behavior alienates youth and makes them feel alone.

    quit bullying!!!!
  • Rorry (30/07/2013, 17:41) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    I think our youths are in serious danger and something needs to be done about it. In the past, everyone went to church and we were taught to just pray to God when we have problems but the reality is, even after prayer, the problems are still there. We need to have a good, long, hard look at our culture and how we need to handle things. There is so much stigma behind behaving a certain way, saying certain things and seeking help, and I think it's affecting our young people. Our atmosphere needs to change. We need to start promoting self-love and a positive self image in both genders. We also need to promote a safe environment where children can go and talk about their problems without fear of being punished, laughed at, or having their business out on the street. Everyone needs a confidant, especially teenagers.

    We need to look at the homes of these children. There are so many single parents out there and young parents (I'm not picking on these people but just using them as an example) out there. Sometimes they themselves aren't fully matured so when they have children and they're tasked with not only their personal growth but the mental growth of their children as well and it exhausts them. The children see this and the feel an array of emotions, guilt for putting their parents through so much, anger for their parents bring them into the world without being able to properly care for them, fear for the future, fear of failure and a whole load of other things.

    A lot of these kids are behaving the way they behave because they are hurting inside and can't say why or they've been taught that it's nothing to cry about, life's hard so suck it up. It's poisoning them from the inside and driving them mad and by time we see the the problem, it's already rooted deeply.

  • peace (30/07/2013, 17:57) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    You vote for them so you have to agree with them
  • new thing (30/07/2013, 23:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    everybody now having text sex
  • jamgirl (31/07/2013, 01:06) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    I ve been to alot of islands the young people here sre very lucky free education training starts at home a lot of them grow up in household where there are both parents but they choose to do stupidness some of them want to see the ghetto where lawyers doctors and all proffessionals rose up from you have to want to change govt csnt do it for you


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