Fewer teens are smoking and drinking alcohol. That’s one of the bright spots from a recent survey of youth in Washington state. But the results also show that a large number of them are struggling with mental health issues.

Every two years the state surveys teens in more than 1,000 public schools across Washington. It gives policy makers a look at what’s going on with kids. It reviews  things like their physical activity, nutrition, smoking and alcohol use. The information helps lawmakers decide on priorities for what  health issues to work on and fund.

Washington Secretary of Health Mary Selecky was a guest on Fridays Mike Bastinelli show. She says many of the state’s prevention programs have seen deep cuts because of the economy. “School systems have gotten pressured for prevention programs the same way,” she says. “So really, as our economy comes back, I sure hope we can invest back into these prevention programs that really are important.”

Click this player to listen to the interview.

Part One

Part Two

Visit the health survey website here.