October is Bullying Prevention Month - LECOM Health

October is Bullying Prevention Month

In the United States, it is reported that one of every five students in schools report being bullied. That number is likely significantly higher due to cyber bullying; bullying that occurs online, texts, social media, or video game platforms. What exactly is bullying ? The answer is not as simple as we may think, but bullying should be considered the issue whenever someone is being made fun of, called names, are subject of rumors or gossip, being excluded from groups or activities on purpose, and also being physically hurt, including being shoved, tripped, or spit on.

Children who experience bullying are at increased risk for developing anxiety, depression, irritability, isolative behaviors, difficulty concentrating, poor sleep or appetite issues. There is a strong association between bullying and suicidal ideations or self-harming behaviors, and is often in addition to symptoms of depression, aggression and substance use. It is also worth noting that children who experience bullying are twice as likely to experience health effects such as headaches and stomachaches. Many students threaten to drop out of school or request to participate in cyber education.

So what can caregivers do to help? First thing’s first, be observant of changes in the child’s behavior and listen to the child. Bullied youth report that it is difficult for them to share their experience with teachers or guardians, due to fear of retaliation by the bully. Therefore, it is crucial for adults to be aware of the signs discussed above, and inform the school, bus driver, or address where the bullying is occurring. In the cases of cyber bullying, it is important for guardians to supervise electronic time and limit the amount of time children are on their devices in an effort to prevent some or most of the bullying. If parents or guardians are concerned about the child’s emotional, behavioral or physical changes impacting their well being, or performance in school or social settings, then it is strongly encouraged that they contact a professional, such as counselor or psychiatrist.

The LECOM Institute for Behavioral Health offers 24/7 care to patients in need.  If you are in need of services visit: https://lecomhealth.com/clinical-practices/practice-locations/institute-for-behavioral-health/ to learn more.

Prinka Sinha, DO
LECOM Institute for Behavioral Health