Why It Matters

Why it Matters

Healthy bonding and attachment between parent and child is one of the biggest factors preventing behavioral health-related issues like drinking, drug use, depression, and anxiety. What’s more is that youth continually report their parents as being the biggest influence in their decision whether or not to drink alcohol or engage in risky behaviors. This means that whether a child is two or twenty, the guidance and support provided by their parents are essential to their health and safety.

Parents are the #1 influence.

69% of youth report their parents as being
the biggest influence on their decision whether or not
to drink alcohol or engage in risky behaviors.1

North Dakota parents are taking the right steps
to promote the health and safety of their kids.

Family dinner time

70.7% of ND high school students eat dinner with their family three or more times per week2.

Effective monitoring

77.0% of ND high school students have parents or other adults in their family who usually ask them where they’re going and who they’ll be with2.

Household expectations

77.7% of ND high school students believe their parents or other adult family members have clear rules and consequences for their behavior2.

Behavioral Health in ND Kids

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH: n. A state of mental or emotional being and/or choices and actions that affect wellness

Behavioral Health in ND Kids Nearly 1 in 3 (29.1%) ND high school students currently drink alcohol and 1 in 6 (15.5%) use marijuana.2 Behavioral Health in ND Kids About 1 in 6 (16.4%) of ND high school students who drink alcohol report doing so to the point of binge drinking.2

That’s nearly the total enrollment of Grand Forks Central High School, Bismarck High School, Fargo South High School, Williston High School, and Dickinson High School combined.
Behavioral Health in ND Kids Almost one quarter of all ND middle school students (23.6%) and one third of all ND high school students (28.9%) have felt so sad or hopeless every day for more than two weeks in the past year that they stopped doing their usual activities.2 Behavioral Health in ND Kids Of the high school students who felt sad and hopeless, nearly ¾ (75.4%) reported they would likely not talk with their parents or other adult family members about their feelings.2
Behavioral Health in ND Kids Nearly 1 in 5 (19.2%) ND middle school students and 1 in 6 ND high school students report having seriously considered suicide in the past year.2 Behavioral Health in ND Kids 13.5% of ND high school students report having attempted suicide 1+ times in the past year.2
Behavioral Health in ND Kids Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in teens age 15-194. Behavioral Health in ND Kids Between 1999 and 2016, North Dakota experienced the largest suicide rate increase in the United States among all ages, demographics, and socioeconomic groups (58%).5

Brain Development

Early use of alcohol and other drugs can damage the structure and function of the developing brain, which continues to mature until around age 25. This damage can be long-term and irreversible, potentially impacting the ability to make healthy decisions or function successfully in school and the workplace far beyond adolescence.6

Frontal Lobe

When alcohol affects the frontal lobes of the brain, a person may find it hard to control his or her emotions. Alcohol can increase the likelihood of a person acting without thinking, losing reason and inhibitions, or even becoming violent. Drinking alcohol over a long period of time can damage the frontal lobes forever.

Parietal Lobe

Alcohol slows down a person's reaction time and may limit fine motor skills.

Occipital Lobe

Alcohol can cause blurred or distorted vision and poor distance judgement.

Temporal Lobe

Alcohol can increase a person's blood pressure, hunger, thirst, and the urge to urinate. Alcohol can also cause slurred speech and can cause a person to have trouble remembering something he or she just learned, such as a name or a phone number.

Cerebellum

After drinking alcohol, a person lacks muscle coordination and balance. Their hands may be so shaky that they can't touch or grab things normally.

Brain Stem

When alcohol affects this part of the brain, a person will start to feel sleepy. Increased consumption can lead to unconscious. Alcohol also decreases a person's body temperature, putting them at increased risk for hypothermia.

Scroll over the brain below to learn more about the ways alcohol affects different parts of the brain.

The brain stem controls the body's automatic/involuntary functions, such as a person's heartrate, temperature, blood pressure, and breathing. The cerebellum controls movement, coordination and balance. The occipital lobe receives and processes visual information. The temporal lobe is responsible for recognizing and processing sound, understanding and producing speech and various aspects of memory, including the hypothalamus and hippocampus. The parietal lobe contains the primary sensory cortex, integrating sensory information from various parts of the body. The brain's frontal lobes are important for planning, forming ideas, making decisions, and using self-control.