Students in poor health most at risk of dropping out

Photo: Stephane de Sakutin Agence France-Presse
At the secondary level, 29% of young people with little confidence in their abilities are at high risk of dropping out, compared to only 1% of those claiming to be very effective.

Low self-esteem, psychological distress, poor nutrition, lack of family support : the 6th grade students and the secondary level with a “global health” vulnerable, are three times more at risk of dropping out of school as their associates believes that it is in good health.

At least that is what reveals a study unveiled Monday by the public health Directorate (DSP) and the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’île-de-Montréal, Le Devoir has obtained a copy.

The report relies on two surveys of 2016-2017, focusing on the health of young people in grade 6 and secondary schools of the metropolis. More than 17 000 young people had responded to the questionnaires.

Result : among the secondary school students who perceive themselves to be in poor health overall, 31 % are at high risk of dropping out of school, while they are only 12 % among those who consider themselves to be in good health. In grade 6, the proportions of students most at risk of dropping out are 11 % and 4 % respectively in these two categories.

To draw the portrait of the local situation, various factors were taken into account, ranging from mental health to physical health through psychological distress, the support network, the emotional state or even the habits of life of young people.

If the students, at this age, are in good physical health, their emotional health is worrying, says the regional director of the DSP de Montréal, Dr. Mylene Drouin.

In high school, for example, 29% of young people with little confidence in their abilities are at high risk of dropping out, compared to only 1 % of those claiming to be very effective. One finds figures almost similar to what is self-esteem.

Equal opportunities

If the drop-out rate in the public institutions of secondary education has decreased in the last few years in Montreal, he is still around 16 %, ” said Ms. Drouin. A grade 6 student in twenty is at risk of dropping out, and it is one in seven students at the secondary level.

“Clearly, student retention is an important determinant of health, a powerful lever to ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of health. It is clear that a young person who did not graduate is not likely to have a job that will guarantee him a living wage “, she notes.

In this respect, it considers that the fight against dropping out of school is ” everybody’s business : schools, families and communities “. It puts particular emphasis on the family, which has a major impact in the success of the child. According to the report, 45 % of high school youth who reported having a low family support have a high risk of dropping out compared to 11 % among those who receive family support is high.

“We must work with the families. The school alone may not have the answer to everything, ” insists Ms. Drouin. However, it recognises that some families in the mid-disadvantaged are struggling to help their children, parents have to combine sometimes two jobs to provide for the needs of the home. It is proven that ” young people who live in an environment that is less fortunate economically are more likely to be at high risk of dropping out “.

Community-based organizations, such as tables youth of the metropolis, come to their aid by offering support to families and / or homework assistance for students.

To the regional director of the DSP, the public policies also have a role to play and governments should do more. “It would take direct action to help these families, particularly in the dimensions of work-family balance or reconciliation of work and studies among young people also,” said Ms. Drouin.

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