Over the last few months, we’ve been calling attention to the Mental Health Crisis in NC. Bullying is another component that heavily impacts a child’s mental health. This is a serious problem that affects many of today’s youth, but especially those who have mental health trauma or belong to marginalized groups. Youth who are bullied may experience low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, isolation, and even suicidal thoughts. Bullying can also have negative effects on their academic performance, social skills, and physical health.
Some of the factors that make youth more vulnerable to bullying are their national origin, race, religion, and sexual orientation or gender identity. These factors may make them feel different from their peers or they may face discrimination and prejudice.
- Youth from the LGBTQI+ community, for example, may face homophobic or transphobic bullying that denies their identity and dignity.
- Youth from different national origins, races, or religions may face xenophobic or racist bullying that stereotypes them or attacks their culture and beliefs.
- Youth with mental health trauma may face ableist bullying that mocks their condition or makes them feel inferior.
Bullying can have lasting effects on the lives and well-being of our youth, so it is important to prevent it and support the victims. Unfortunately, during this day/age, bullying has expanded beyond physical to include social media as a vehicle for verbal and emotional abuse. Signs that a youth is being bullied include:
- They seem sad, angry, or scared more often than usual.
- They have unexplained bruises, cuts, or other injuries.
- They avoid certain places, people, or activities that they used to enjoy.
- They have trouble sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
- They lose interest in schoolwork, hobbies, or friends.
- They have low self-esteem or talk negatively about themselves.
Encourage youth to be aware, and if they notice any of these signs in those around them, educate them that it’s okay to talk and offer support. Remind the victim that bullying is not their fault, and they are not alone.
Bullying prevention is more than just telling people to stop being mean. It’s also about helping them learn how to be kind and supportive of others who are going through a hard time. It’s teaching youth that when they see someone being bullied, to not just walk away or join in. Instead, they should try to be a friend by standing up for the victim, inviting them to join a group of friends, or simply talking to them in a caring, respectful way. By being a friend, they can make a big difference in someone’s life and also create a positive culture in their school or community.
- Each day 160,000 students stay home or skip school because they are afraid of being bullied.
- 43% kids have been bullied while online and 1 out of 5 kids admits to being a bully or doing some bullying. (Facts: bullyingstatistics.com).
- According to facts from bullyingstatistics.org children being bullied may feel scared, vulnerable, and alone because the bully is much bigger or stronger and they are afraid to tell someone.
- It’s reported that most children and teens never speak up about their bullying situation (or incident) because they don’t want to be known as a snitch or tattletale at school.