By Myrna Trauntvein
Support for the SHARP Survey has been growing among political leaders who have met with Central Utah Counseling Center representatives.
Juab County Commissioners agreed to sign a resolution supporting the SHARP Survey being administered in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 every other year.
Chet R Ludlow, Clinical Social Worker Specialist, Central Utah Counseling Center; Gay Hansen, Prevention Specialist, Central Utah Counseling Center; and Libbie Hinckley, Prevention Specialist with the Central Utah Counseling Center in Sanpete County, all met with Juab County Commissioners on Monday.
The three presented information from the Utah Prevention, State of Utah Department of Human Services Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health “Student Health and Risk Prevention, 2017 Prevention Needs Assessment Survey Results” prepared by Bach Harrison, LLC for Central Utah LSAA.
“The Utah SHARP Survey has been successfully administered eight times on a state-wide basis,” said Hansen, “in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017.”
The counseling center would like Juab School District to participate in 2019.
“The Utah SHARP Survey is sponsored by the Utah State Office of Education (USOE); the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), and the Utah Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Use and Mental Health (DSAMH),” she said. “Each of these agencies heavily use SHARP Survey data for planning, decision making, monitoring, evaluation and reporting.”
Hansen said that the survey was an indication that there was a sharp incline in inhalants. One of those was canned air.
“At Walmart, they sell canned air in bulk,” said Ludlow.
Clint Painter, commission chairman, said he was especially interested in the data from the 2017 survey concerning mental health and suicide indicators for all grades. There was a significant rise in the number of students who indicated that they needed help.
Other results dealt with those who felt sad or hopeless for two weeks or more in a row during the past year, those who had considered attempting suicide, those who had planned suicide, those who had attempted suicide and those who had engaged in self-harming behavior during the past year.
One of the problems with suicide in our area was that there were many guns available. Unlike those who take an overdose of drugs and can sometimes be saved, guns are more lethal.
Byron Woodland, commissioner, said that two of the commissioners could likely plan to attend the school board meeting on Wednesday, May 16.
“I am very supportive of administering the SHARP Survey in our district,” he said.
The survey is completely confidential and no names are used. In addition, the participants are assured that the survey is voluntary.
“Checks are built into the analyses to identify dishonest participants,” said Ludlow.
Hansen said it was important to target areas where local young people needed help. It was better to do that with evidence-based data.
“We have found alcohol use trending downward,” she said. “That indicates that we are making efforts and that we are doing some things right.”
Hinkley said that the survey administered in her districts indicated that family management skills were needed. That was being addressed.
“We sit on coalitions in other school districts,” said Ludlow.
The Juab coalition lacks data to make wise decisions on how to best help students. With area-specific data, it is easier to make informed decisions on best methods.
Enrollment in Utah public schools has exceeded 650,000 students, according to new figures released by the offices of the Utah State Board of Education.
Rick Carlton, commissioner, suggested that the commission direct that the county attorney draw up a resolution. The commission could number the resolution, vote to adopt the coming resolution, put the item on the agenda for next meeting, and ratify the adoption.
However, that was not necessary.
Ryan Peters, county attorney, said that his office would prepare the resolution and have it ready to adopt before closing of commission meeting.
“We will sign the resolution before the end of meeting,” said Carlton.>