National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month: Bullying raises depression risk among youth

National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month: Bullying raises depression risk among youth

Bullying in schools is common. Despite strict regulations and vigilant teachers, some children do end up becoming victims of bullying. Nowadays, bullying is limited not just to nagging juniors or belittling them about trivial issues, it is slowly becoming synonymous with tyranny. Teachers, parents, school administrators and policymakers are taking all the necessary steps to put a stop to it.

Bullying practices depend on region, race, religion or gender, but its disastrous impact on the mind remains the same. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bullying has been defined as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”

The necessity to stomp out bullying has gained wide acceptance, resulting in thousands of schools, organizations and communities coming forward to observe the “National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month” in October 2016. The PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center started the campaign in 2006 which is marked by various awareness activities and education sessions on bullying, by various schools and communities across the world.

Tackling twin problems of bullying and suicide

The relationship between bullying and suicide, as observed by various studies, has only sparked a national outcry to end the same. Cases of teens and adolescents committing suicide due to bullying, be it physical, verbal or online, have become common. Bullying can occur due to any reason, but it has been observed that overweight children in their pre-teenage years are bullied frequently or subjected to social isolation, thus, aggravating their potential risk of suffering from emotional problems.

Efforts are being made to check discriminatory attitudes against children on the basis of their physical attributes, nevertheless much is required to extend the same across all the sections of the society. The emotional turmoil experienced by these students has been analyzed in the study titled “Emotional Implications of Weight Stigma Across Middle School: The Role of Weight-Based Peer Discrimination.”

Lead author of the study Jaana Juvonen said, “The widespread misconception is that anyone who is heavy is likely to feel distressed because of their weight, yet our findings suggest that demeaning peer responses to weight is the primary social factor underlying these emotional problems.”

The importance of the findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology in September 2016, need to be considered as nearly 30 percent young respondents had reported of at least one experience of weight discrimination by the time they had reached seventh grade.

Abuse on Facebook: A virtual reality

Bullying tactics are not limited to school or workplace. Bullying on social networking sites has become common. Abusing youngsters on Facebook can increase the risk of depression among them, according to a recent study published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health in August 2016. The study found that the respondents with negative Facebook experience were 3.2 times more likely to manifest symptoms of depression than their peers.

The fact that the young generation considers most interactions on social media seriously and it is unable to understand that such conversations have the least impact due to their virtual presence results in increased severity of resulting depression.

Coming together against bullying and depression

Children who are unable to tolerate bullying, exhibit symptoms of withdrawal and isolation. Exacerbation of the same can result in prolonged spells of depression and suicide attempts. While bullying tends to be pervasive across most communities, it is imperative to raise a voice against such negative practices as opposed to being a sole observer of bullying.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental problem, including depression as a result of bullying or other anti-social practices, contact Sovereign Mental Health Services to gain an insight into various depression treatment programs. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 954-0529 or chat online with one of our experts to know about our mental health facilities in the U.S.

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