Members of the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition Youth Action Board were on hand at a past annual concert to talk about living a drug-free life and making positive decisions.

Members of the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition Youth Action Board were on hand at a past annual concert to talk about living a drug-free life and making positive decisions.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Survey of local teens reveals mental health challenges

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published June 22, 2022


BIRMINGHAM — The city of Birmingham and the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition are partnering to spread mental health messaging throughout the community.

The BBCC is a local nonprofit that promotes mental health awareness throughout the area and works to prevent substance abuse in the community’s youth.

Each year, the BBCC sends out a self-designed survey to students to help understand the prevalence of mental health and substance abuse issues in the community’s young people.

This survey is designed to produce results specific to the community.

“We don’t want to rely on the national study we do. Our youth-focused substance abuse prevention, health and wellness work is very focused on our community,” BBCC Executive Director Carol Mastroianni said.

The BBCC administered the most recent survey in December 2021 to eighth through 12th grade students in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills public schools. The survey was ​​administered to 3,483 students

“We want to make sure that we’re able to tailor as closely to what’s going on in our community because, truly, to do prevention, you hope that things don’t end up in the survey,” Mastroianni said. “We want to be on top of the trends and what’s going on as quickly as possible.”

One of the motives of this year’s survey is to better understand how the pandemic has affected teens’ mental health.

The main categories in the survey were ​​substance misuse, consequences of use, presence of others, perception of harm and risk, access to substances, and perception of disapproval.

For example, when the survey asked, “During the last 30 days, how often have you had less fun doing things than you used to?” 558 students answered “most of the time” or “all of the time.”

The coalition was able to tie these responses to substance abuse.

Students who said that they had less fun doing things than they used to in the last 30 days were also 2.3 times more likely to have used marijuana in the past 30 days and 2.3 times more likely to have vaped any substance in the past 30 days.

When Mastroianni reached out to the city about this survey, they made time to include her presentation in an April 11 workshop meeting for the City Commission.

“Right now, I would say the city’s role is mainly to help educate and help spread that word,” Birmingham Communications Director Marianne Gamboa said.

After Mastroianni’s presentation, Gamboa said the city reached out to her asking how they could help the BBCC with their mission. It was later decided that the best way the city could help right now is by sending messaging about mental health to the community through the outlets they have available to them.

So far, the city has published an article by the BBCC about mental health in the June Around Town e-newsletter.

Gamboa said that they told Mastroianni that they would be happy to publish more articles from the BBCC in future newsletters as well.

In addition to promoting the messaging in the newsletters, Gamboa said they plan to post messaging on their social media pages.

“It truly takes a village to raise our children more than ever,” Mastroianni said.

Mastroianni said that youth wellness impacts the quality of life for the whole community.

“We are at a crisis level in terms of everything that’s going on with our young people, and if young people are the future, then we really need to look at how each of us plays a role in how we can help make a positive shift in difference in supporting our youth,” Mastroianni said.

More information about the BBCC and their mission can be found at