Mountain Youth launches 9th annual Healthy Kids Colorado Survey

The state-level survey takes a pulse on the behaviors, attitudes and perceptions of middle and high school students

The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey is a bi-annual, anonymous survey is conducted statewide to take a pulse on young people’s behaviors, attitudes and perceptions.
Mountain Youth/Courtesy Photo

Mountain Youth, with the help of local schools and a number of community organizations, is launching the ninth annual Healthy Kids Colorado Survey to middle and high school students across the Eagle River Valley. This bi-annual, anonymous survey is conducted statewide to take a pulse on young people’s behaviors, attitudes and perceptions.

Locally, Mountain Youth has coordinated the administration of this survey for the past 14 years with the help of over 200 volunteers.

The survey asks a variety of questions to middle and high school students to understand what is affecting them and how parents, caregivers and trusted adults can best support them. These questions cover topics such as school life, school safety, trusted adult relationships and other factors that are connected with healthy choices.

The survey results provide data on topics including mental health, extracurricular involvement, physical activity, alcohol and other substance abuse.

Participation in the survey is both anonymous and optional. Parents are given the opportunity to view the questions ahead of time and opt their child, or children, out of the survey. Students can also skip any questions that they are unsure about or uncomfortable with.

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Mountain Youth partners with the area’s public and private schools to conduct the survey during a single class period. During the survey, students’ privacy is protected and no information is gathered that can be used to identify a student.

Students do not receive academic credit for completing the survey, and there is no penalty for not completing it.

Greater impact

The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey allows educators, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and community service providers to not only gain a true understanding of the issues confronting young people but to understand how to help students learn and thrive.

In 2019, Mountain Youth partnered with 14 public and private schools to survey 3,786 students between sixth and 12th grade.

The data collected by this survey — and its predecessors — is utilized by a number of community organizations. Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, SpeakUp ReachOut, My Future Pathways, Bright Future Foundation, Cycle Effect, SOS Outreach, Walking Mountains and the school district, among others, use these statistics to demonstrate the importance of their work. This data is utilized to guide programming and obtain critical resources. Plus, it has enabled these community partners to raise millions of dollars each year to fulfill identified needs.

Both locally and at the state level, the data assists a number of greater policy efforts by identifying youth strengths and barriers.

Starting conversations

This project offers an excellent opportunity for parents and other trusted adults to initiate conversations with young people about these various health topics. The Colorado State Forward Together campaign offers insightful tips on how to start conversations and build meaningful connections. Some of these tips include:

  • Share the respect; try not to react immediately and listen without judgment.
  • Offer support without taking over. Parents tend to want to fix problems. Talking and listening to what they want to share can encourage them to open up.
  • Be thoughtful about the time and place to start a conversation, such as a private location without distractions for more serious topics.
  • Don’t give up. Opening a safe space for conversations shows that even if they aren’t ready to talk at that moment, they know you’re available when they are ready.

The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey is possible in part thanks to support from all local schools, the United Way of the Eagle River Valley, Eagle County Government, the towns of Avon and Gypsum, SAMHSA, Colorado Office of Behavioral Health, UC Denver, and Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, an outreach of Vail Health.

To learn more about volunteering or about the project, please contact

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