Significantly fewer students reported vaping in 2021. Alcohol and marijuana consumption also decreased.

Hawaii schools may be scrambling to help students catch up academically after the disruptions of the pandemic, but remote learning appears to have had some upsides for teens, according to survey data released by the state Department of Health this week.

Fewer students experienced bullying on campus. Teens exercised more and were less likely to smoke, drink, or consume other illicit substances. 

The biennial Hawaii Youth Behavior Risk Survey was conducted in the fall of 2021, when many students were returning to campus after more than a year of partial or fully remote learning. 

About 10% of high school students surveyed said they had experienced bullying on campus in the previous year, down from 17% in the 2019 survey. Only 15% of high school students said they had vaped in the past 30 days, a significant decreased from 2019 when 31% of teens said they had vaped in the previous month. 

The percentage of middle school students who reported experiencing depression has continued to climb. (Screenshot/Department of Health/2023)

Depression rates stayed about the same for high school students between 2019 and 2021, but rose slightly for middle schoolers. About a third of all students surveyed reported having a depressive episode in the previous year. 

However, only 1 out of every 5 high school students surveyed said they had received the mental health help they needed.

Hawaii has been conducting the survey since the early 1990s in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data provides a broad but important snapshot of health trends for students.

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