Lincoln County Youth Health Profile Now Available

In December 2017, the Lincoln County Youth Health Profile was completed by Lincoln County Health Department and UW-Extension. The report contains health data related to traffic safety, violence, bullying, mental health/suicide, nutrition/eating behaviors, physical activity and alcohol and other drug use. This report is the first of its kind and provides a comprehensive data set of youth health behaviors and challenges.

The report compares Lincoln County data to Wisconsin and United States data when possible, which allows for meaningful comparisons, benchmarking and analysis. Data in the profile is from the following surveys: Lincoln County Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2017), Lincoln County Social Norms Survey (2016), Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2013) and United States Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2015).

For years, the Lincoln County Drug Free Coalition has partnered with Merrill Area Public Schools and the Tomahawk School District to administer the Social Norms Survey, which focuses on use and perceptions of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. In recent years, school staff and community partners expressed the need to collect more comprehensive student health data. In 2016, the Lincoln County Drug Free Coalition received funding from the Northwoods Coalition to administer the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which is a standardized tool that is used throughout the country allowing for the comparison of local, state and national health data. It also identifies youth health challenges and protective behaviors.

Through collaborative efforts between the Lincoln County Drug Free Coalition, Lincoln County Mental Health Coalition, Merrill Area Public Schools, Tomahawk School District, Lincoln County Health Department and UW-Extension, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey was administered in the Spring of 2017. Both Merrill and Tomahawk High Schools and Middle Schools participated in the survey. This was the first time that this survey was completed at the county level.

In an effort to continually monitor and track progress on youth health indicators, the Merrill Area Public Schools and the Tomahawk School District have agreed to administer the Youth Risk Behavior Survey on odd years and the Social Norms Survey on even years.

This report would have not been possible without the commitment and support from Merrill Area Public Schools and the Tomahawk School District. Financial support was provided by Northwoods Coalition, Merrill Area United Way, Plum Creek Foundation, Ascension Good Samaritan Hospital and Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital.

The Lincoln County Youth Health Profile be accessed electronically at: http://bit.ly/2AURQ2z.  Contact Kristin Bath, Public Health Educator, at kbath@co.lincoln.wi.us or 715-539-1373 or Debbie Moellendorf, UW-Extension 4-H Youth Development Educator at deborah.moellendorf@ces.uwex.edu or 715-539-1077 to request a hard copy.   You can also access an electronic version on the Lincoln County UW-Extension website at https://lincoln.uwex.edu/ .  Kristin and Debbie are also willing to present information from this report with agencies and organizations in the county.  Contact either of them to schedule.