Written by: Jason Jowers, MS, MFT
Every October, communities across the United States come together to observe National Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying is a widespread problem in the U.S. that affects millions of children, adolescents, and even adults. Bullying behavior is very common. According to the CDC, about 1 in 5 high school students reported being bullied on school property and 1 in 6 high schoolers reported being bullied electronically in the last year (CDC, 2023). Bullying can lead to long-lasting emotional and psychological scars, causing victims to suffer in silence and isolation. National Bullying Prevention Month seeks to address this issue head-on by fostering a culture of kindness, empathy, and inclusion.
One of the primary goals of this campaign is to raise awareness about bullying. Many individuals may not fully understand the different forms bullying can take, such as verbal, physical, or cyberbullying. To combat this, organizations like the CDC, Stomp Out Bullying, and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) provide valuable resources and information to help individuals recognize the signs of bullying and its impacts on victims.
What Can Parents and Providers Can Do
One significant event to mark on your calendar is World Day of Bullying Prevention, often observed on the first Monday of October. This day encourages people to wear blue, the color of bullying prevention, and engage in conversations about the issue. It’s a powerful way to show solidarity and spread the message that bullying has no place in our society.
Parents can be the greatest influencers to their kids when it comes to curbing bullying behavior or combating the effects of being bullied. Parents can be positive role models and show kids and adolescents how to treat others with respect and dignity. In this article from Greater Good magazine, there are many tips and exercises to reduce the risk of bullying including using an authoritative parenting style, nurturing a positive family climate, and teaching emotional and interpersonal skills (Divecha, 2023).
In connection to the adverse effects on mental health that military service members face, being bullied can lead kids to experience PTSD symptoms.“For all bullied students, 27.6% of boys and 40.5% of girls had PTSD” (NCTSN, 2023). It’s important to understand the impact that bullying has on the mental health of kids and adolescents.
Service Providers working with families experiencing bullying play a vital role as well in mitigating dangerous bullying behavior. StopBullying.gov shares this article on Partnering with Healthcare Providers to Respond to Bullying. Recommendations include recognizing, screening, and referring when it comes to responding to bullying or the effects of bullying.
National Bullying Prevention Month shines a spotlight on the issue of bullying and encourages everyone to take a stand against it, not just in October, but year-round. By raising awareness, providing valuable resources, and fostering a culture of kindness and empathy, we can work together to create a world where bullying is no longer tolerated. Whether you’re a teacher, parent, student, or community member, you can make a difference during this important month and throughout the year by promoting inclusion, respect, and empathy in your daily interactions.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2023). “Fast Fact: Preventing Bullying.” Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/bullyingresearch/fastfact.html
Divecha, D. (Greater Good Magazine, 2023). “What Can Parents Do About Bullying?” Retrieved from: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_can_parents_do_about_bullying
NCTSN (2023). National Bullying Prevention Month. Retrieved from: https://www.nctsn.org/resources/public-awareness/national-bullying-prevention-month
StopBullying.Gov (2023). “How to Talk About Bullying.” Retrieved from: https://www.stopbullying.gov/resources/how-to-talk-about-bullying
Blog Post Image: IStock Credit:Denis Novikov Stock illustration ID:1434693241