Bullying and suicide - the lasting effects of childhood

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Bullying can have long-lasting and damaging effects that persist for months or even years.

According to a CDC expert panel report, the connection between bulling and suicide among youth is a serious public health problem.

Many studies have been done over the last few years on bullying, depression and suicide. The CDC put together a panel to look at broad themes among their complex relationships:

  • Youth bullying is a major public health problem. Bullying causes extensive and often damaging health problems.
  • There is a link between bullying and suicide-related behaviors.
  • Bullying and suicide are problems that can and should be addressed with public health strategies.

Damage persists long after bullying stops

USA Today reports that bullying is highest during the middle school years, with up to 56 percent of students involved in bullying – either as victims, bullies or both. Verbal bullying is the most common form; it is more common than cyber or physical bullying and tends to last longer.

Young homosexuals are at a much higher risk for being targeted compared to heterosexuals. Symptoms of bullying – anxiety, depression, stomach pain and tension – can last for years after the bullying has stopped.

Prevention is possible

School environments, school social support, family support and teaching individual coping skills are vital to successfully dealing with bullying and the fallout from bullying.

“Given the prevalence and impact of bullying, it is important to move forward while public health strategies are still being developed,” explained editor Marci Feldman Hertz. “We can begin by implementing and evaluating strategies that have demonstrated effectiveness at increasing protective factors and decreasing risk factors associated with both bullying and suicide.”

Service providers need to look beyond the bullying happening today and attempt to stop the harassment from starting in the first place.

Sibling aggression should not be underestimated

“Historically, sibling aggression has been dismissed as normal,” said lead researcher Corinna Jenkins Tucker. “It’s been seen as benign or even good for kids because it teaches them something about dealing with the world.”

Children should be protected from threats of physical safety, humiliation and embarrassment and from being socially isolated.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal of Adolescent Health

 
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