The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines bullying as any, “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. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, long lasting problems.” The month of October has been designated National Bullying Prevention Month to raise awareness about the dangers of bullying and the trauma it causes its victims. It also hopes to empower those who are currently being bullied and those who are witnessing the behavior to speak up for those who are being victimized.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that “Bullying can result in physical injury, social and emotional distress, self-harm, and even death. It also increases the risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school. Youth who bully others are at risk for substance use, academic problems, and experiencing violence later in adolescence and adulthood. Youth who bully others and are bullied themselves suffer the most serious consequences and are at greater risk for mental health and behavioral problems.”
The National Education Association (NEA), suggest the following steps for concerned parents or educators to prevent bullying:
- Pay attention.
- Don’t ignore it.
- When you see something, do something.
- Remain calm.
- Deal with each child individually.
- Don’t make the children involved apologize or shake hands on the spot.
- Hold bystanders accountable.
- Listen and don’t pre-judge.
- Get appropriate professional help.
- Become trained to handle bullying situations if necessary.
For mental health referrals or to schedule an appointment at any of our convenient Primary Medical Care Center community clinics, you may visit our website at www.primarymed.com, or call (305)751-1500 for our Miami-Dade clinic, or (954)289-0000 for our Broward clinic.