October Is Bullying Prevention Month

We have all heard the stories of bullied teens taking their own lives. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for youth ages 10-18 and in many cases bullying can be a catalyst. Studies have shown that bullying aggravates depression and increases suicide risk for both the victim and the perpetrator. When kids who are at risk for suicide because of depression or other mental health issues are bullied, the results can be disastrous.

According to a Washington State Healthy Youth Survey, nearly 25% of tenth graders who reported being bullied also reported having made a suicide attempt in the past twelve months. An article by JAMA pediatrics reported that cyberbullying cause kids to consider suicide more than traditional bullying.

Cyberbullying happens via technology and can be just as devastating as in-person bullying and can lead a victim to low self-esteem, a feeling of loneliness, and a drop in school grades. Parents can help prevent cyberbullying by talking about it, limiting data access, knowing your child’s passwords, and enforcing internet rules. New research done by The Journal of Child and Family Studies identifies that certain positive parenting practices have a strong effect on both school bullying and cyberbullying. Those are a surplus of warmth, autonomy/support, and structure.

If your child has been the victim of bullying and you have noticed a change in his or her mental health as a result, get help now. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 988, is a free resource, available 24 hours a day. Or you can text “Jason” to 741741 where trained counselors can offer you support.

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