“Marathon County Teen” Documentary Reveals Real-Life Struggles of Area Teens

Written by Janine Foggia &  Aaron Ruff

YRBS_Report_2016Marathon County Teen is a documentary-style video series — based around Marathon County Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) metrics — that highlights what life is like for teens living in Marathon County. The video series captures the authentic stories and voices of students in Marathon County school districts.

These students share their honest voices, without interference, about:

  • The challenges they face
  • The ideas they have
  • How they approach the many complex facets of their high school lives

 Now, it’s up to us to listen to them…

We invite you to watch a clip from this powerful video series. The 4 ½-minute segment below focuses on the mental health and stress of our local youth — as told in their own words.

The Marathon County Youth Risk Behavior Survey highlighted depression as a significant need among area youth:

Over 21% of 9th– to 12th-grade students reported being depressed in 2015.

In response, mental health clinics, schools, and community organizations seized an opportunity to work together to address this need by forming the Marathon County School-Based Counseling Consortium (MCS-BCC).

The consortium has set out to reduce depression among 6th– to 12th-grade students through a variety of strategies. Most notably, the consortium has set up mental health therapy services in all 10 school districts in the county.

This program is intended to provide direct counseling services to students, training for staff on mental health issues, and education for parents and youth on mental health issues and resources.

(You can read more about the consortium and access to school-based therapists in Karyn Powers’s 11/15/2017 article “On-Site Therapists & Other Supports Implemented in 4 Pilot Schools to Meet Students’ Growing Mental Health Needs.”)

The Marathon County Youth Risk Behavior Survey collects data on the following health-risk behaviors among teens:

  • Traffic safety
  • Weapons and violence
  • Suicide
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol and other drug use
  • Sexual behavior
  • Diet, nutrition, and exercise

The survey is conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as part of a national effort by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (NOTE: 2017 marked the second time Marathon County-wide YRBS data had been collected for all 10 public school districts.)

According to Brooke Davis, School Counselor at D.C. Everest Junior High:

“By having the YRBS data, we have been able to compare this information to building level data in order to make decisions on how to best meet the needs of our students. The data has enabled us to focus on what we are hearing from the students what their needs are. We are no longer guessing on trends and mental health concerns because we now have the data to support our need for specific services. We have also been able to use the data to further examine resources that we should be providing to students, staff, parents, and the community.”

The following video clip from the Marathon County Teen series focuses on how students link their socioeconomic class to depression, self-worth, and the opportunities teens have. It’ll open your eyes to some of the struggles area teens face.

We invite you to view the Marathon County Teen documentary in its entirety here. You’re sure to be moved by the powerful, real-life stories happening to our youth all around us.

Janine_FoggiaJanine Foggia

Population Health Service Fellow  |  Marathon County Health Department & Ascension Wisconsin

Janine received her Master of Public Health from the College for Public Health and Social Justice at Saint Louis University. Prior to graduate school, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at a free healthcare clinic in rural Minnesota, where she secured grant funding and worked to develop mental health, wellness, and optical services. Janine has global health experience in Honduras working with a birth center to promote birth preparedness and in Costa Rica implementing healthy lifestyle programs among community members. Janine will complete her Fellowship with  Marathon County Health Department and Ascension Wisconsin., where she will focus primarily on data initiatives.

Aaron Ruff - Public Health Educator - Marathon County Health Department

Aaron Ruff

Public Health Educator  |  Marathon County Health Department

Aaron is a Public Health Educator with the Marathon County Health Department working to transform local environments and build healthier communities, so that all residents of Marathon County can live a healthy lifestyle. He is a Certified Health Education Specialist through The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.  Email Aaron Ruff

You might also like…


Please email our Editorial Board with your comments, suggestions, and article ideas.

And if you spot a typo or an inaccuracy, please contact us so we can fix it. Thanks!