What We Do

In 2022, the Central 9th Youth Coalition studied data from the Student Health and Risk Prevention (SHARP) Survey and other public sources in Salt Lake City to understand the risks, protective factors, and health behaviors of young people. The assessment highlighted areas of higher risks and lower protective factors that require action. Based on these findings, we’re working with stakeholders, organizations, and community members to create a prevention plan to address youth health and behavior concerns and promote positive youth development.

Priority Concerns in Salt Lake City

  • Suicide and Self Harm
    Many young people in our community are facing mental health challenges. About 18.7% have had thoughts of suicide, 14.7% made a plan, and 8.4% attempted. Rates of self-harming behaviors are also increasing, with 19.5% involved.
  • Youth Substance Use
    Although there has been a state-wide decrease, Salt Lake’s young people still have a higher substance use rate (11.3%) compared to the state average. This includes alcohol, e-cigarettes, marijuana, prescription drugs, and inhalants.
  • Cyberbullying
    Almost 30% of young people in Salt Lake report experiencing threats or harassment online or through technology. This rate has risen significantly and is higher than the state average. 

Factors Affecting Youth Choices

Risk factors increase the chances of young people getting involved in unhealthy behaviors like drug use or violence. Protective factors help young people build resilience and make healthier choices. In order to address our community’s concerns, the Coalition is working to:

  • Decrease depressive symptoms for young people.
    Teens with more depression symptoms may believe drug use is common and beneficial, leading to increased drug use if they have friends who use drugs.
  • Increase young people’s commitment to school.
    When young people find school unmeaningful, it increases the likelihood of drug use, delinquency, teen pregnancy, dropping out, and involvement in violence.
  • Increase the perception of drug use as risky and harmful.
    Young people who underestimate the harm of drugs are more likely to experiment with them, disregarding negative consequences.
  • Increase opportunities and rewards for community involvement.
    Engaging in positive community activities and receiving recognition protects young people from risky behaviors, promoting their overall positive development.

Past Initiatives

Know Your Script Mural

In 2022, the Coalition sponsored the creation of a lenticular mural to raise awareness about opioid misuse for the Know Your Script campaign. The project was a collaboration between Spy Hop students, the Salt Lake County Health Department, and R&R Partners. The mural toured three branches of the City Library, reaching countless people with its important message.

Central 9th Block Parties

From June 2021 through August 2022, the Coalition organized monthly Block Parties at Spy Hop’s Kahlert Youth Media Arts Center. Initially serving as vaccination clinics, these events evolved into community outreach fairs, offering valuable resources to youth and families. Throughout this period, a total of 2,198 individuals attended, and the Coalition provided 142 COVID-19 and flu vaccinations. Currently, the Block Parties are on hold as the Coalition conducts its resource assessment.

Tech Liberation Project

In 2020, when Salt Lake City schools transitioned to remote learning, the Coalition recognized a need for tech devices among youth and families lacking access or resources. Collaborating with Salt Lake City, the Coalition received donations of tech devices, refurbished them, and distributed them to those in need through its network of partners. This initiative for digital equity was later adopted by Spy Hop, creating an internship opportunity for young people to get involved and make a positive impact in the community.
Read more at https://spyhop.org/the-tech-liberation-project-with-daniel-stergios/