Month: April 2013

Expanding #RAAPS on Social Media Platforms

RAAPS is expanding our social media platforms.  We hope to engage you in highly interactive conversations while sharing the latest resources on adolescent risk behaviors.

RAAPS has a You Tube Channel! 

Check out our new YouTube channel, where we have posted our first two videos showcasing how RAAPS is transforming adolescent screening and tips on how to put screening into practice. Click, view and share!

Teen Risk Assessment: How “RAAPS” is Transforming Adolescent Screening
Learn how the RAAPS cloud-based platform eliminates some of the most common barriers to adolescent risk screening — building a bridge between you and your teen population.

Teen Risk Assessment: Putting Screening into Practice with “RAAPS”
An introduction to how RAAPS works in your practice’s workflow — from swift survey completion to evidence-based counseling tools that support more meaningful, two-way dialogue.

Tweet with Us!

Follow us @RAAPS4Teens and help us put the hashtag #RAAPS on the map!  Learn more about the latest news in adolescent health and teen risk behaviors and trends.


April is Alcohol Awareness Month!

April is Alcohol Awareness Month!

The beginning of Spring often marks an important part of life for teens across America – proms, graduations and parties are being planned.  The pressure to drink alcohol is at its highest during the adolescent years. According to the CDC, more young people in the U.S. use alcohol than tobacco or illicit drugs. Approximately 42% of youth in 9-12th grade reports drinking alcohol within the past month.  Teens involved in regular alcohol use puts them at great risk for alcoholism, as well as related problems like drunk driving, sexual assault, and further drug use.

Did you know that…
–  Teens that experiment with alcohol before age 15 are four times more likely to become alcohol dependent when they are older than those that wait until age 20.
– Parents play an important role in a teen’s decision to drink. In fact, 74% of teens say their parents are the number one influence on their decision to drink.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) theme for 2013 Alcohol Awareness Month is “Help for Today. Hope For Tomorrow.”  There is no single age group of people more affected by alcohol and drugs than young people.  How can we help our teens today?

Screening, education and prevention are critically important to reducing alcohol-related problems and alcoholism.  You can effectively screen adolescents using RAAPS to reduce risky behaviors, such as alcohol use.  Read more about the research behind question 11 on the RAAPS screening tool which addresses drinking alcohol within the last three months.

April is STD Awareness Month!

April is STD Awareness Month!  The increase in sexual experimentation that often occurs during adolescent years can have adverse consequences, such as sexually transmitted infections.  CDC estimates that youth ages 15-24 make up just over one-quarter of the sexually active population, but account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections that occur in the United States each year.

We encourage youth to get screened using RAAPS so that professionals can identify high risk behaviors quickly.  We want to help teens change self-destructive behaviors and make better, healthier choices!  See our blog post on the research behind questions 16 and 17 of the RAAPS survey to learn more about what specifically we ask about sexual health.

A myriad of resources are available for youth, including pamphlets, widgets and infographics on the CDC website. Another valuable resource is the Get Yourself Tested (GYT) Campaign.  GYT helps to inform young people about STDs, encourage and normalize testing for STDs, and connect young people to testing centers.  Taken from the GYT blog, we encourage TEST IT, PROTECT IT, SAVE IT!  Get yourself tested, use protection if sexually active or abstain from sex.  Almost 2 out of 3 teenagers who have had sex wish they’d waited.

Check out this great infographic provided on the CDC website.  A picture is worth a thousand words.

 Incidence: This is a bar chart showing the estimated number of new sexually transmitted infections in the United States in 2008. There were a total of 19,738,800 new infections: 19,000 hepatitis B infections; 41,400 HIV infections; 55,400 syphilis infections; 776,000 HSV-2 infections; 820,000 gonorrhea infections; 1,090,000 trichomoniasis infections; 2,860,000 chlamydia infections; and 14,100,000 HPV infections. Young people (aged 15 to 24) accounted for half of all new sexually transmitted infections: 8% of hepatitis B infections, 20% of syphilis infections; 45% of HSV-2 infections; 70% of gonorrhea infections; 13% of trichomoniasis infections; 63% of chlamydia infections; and 49% of HPV infections.

New Guidelines to Help Address Risk Behaviors in Adolescents

Did you know that according to the CDC nearly three out of every four teens that were seriously injured or killed, high risk behaviors were the primary cause?  So, it begs the question, how can we effectively screen for physical, emotional and social health risk factors to prevent those high risk behaviors? 

Data from the national Rapid Assessment for Adolescent Preventive Services (RAAPS) survey completed by 20,000 youth in school-based health centers across Michigan indicates a significant and rising new set of risks facing teens today that reinforces the need for behavioral health risk screening as part of assessing total health risk factors.

The Michigan RAAPS data shows:

  • –  More than one quarter of teens surveyed – 28 percent – say they have trouble managing anger and admit to doing things that get them “in trouble” when they are angry.
  • –  24 percent of teens reported depression, responding that they have feelings of sadness or that they have nothing to look forward to.
  • –  Bullying continues to rise in prevalence, with more than 16 percent of teens surveyed reporting they have been threatened, teased or made to feel afraid.

All of these mental health issues affected a higher percentage of middle and high school youth than the risks more commonly associated with teen populations. Illicit drug and alcohol use was reported by 13 percent of total respondents, with 19 percent reported by high school-aged youth.

MDCH and Michigan Quality Improvement Consortium (MQIC) worked collaboratively with a group of practitioners and adolescent health experts to develop recommendations for assessing risk behaviors which most impact adolescent health. These recommendations have been compiled into the Adolescent Health Risk Behavior Assessment Clinical Practice Guideline, for health care providers to identify the riskiest behaviors, along with counseling strategies shown to be most effective in helping teens change their behavior. According to those recommendations, RAAPS is a developmentally appropriate screening tool to identify risk in adolescents.

For more information about the RAAPS data, visit our home page. The MQIC Adolescent Health Risk Behavior Assessment clinical practice guideline and the four recommended screening tools can be found hereClick here to view our latest press release on behalf of MDCH.