October is National Bullying Prevention Month and due to the recent events occurring in St. Joseph involving bullying, awareness is even more important for individuals of all ages.
Northwest Health Services has developed a three-part series where our Behavioral Health providers discuss:
- Risk factors and warning signs
- How to talk about bullying
- How to stop bullying
Part 1 | Risk Factors and Warning Signs:
Chances are that bullying has impacted you or someone you know. Many times a bully or bullying victim can be spotted. How can you spot a bully? How can you spot a victim of bullying? The following illustrates what bullying is and some warning signs of bullying.
Bullying creates a real or perceived power imbalance by using multiple forms of unwanted aggressive behavior between two or more specific individuals. The power imbalance created by bullying can occur in multiple ways through:
- Verbal bullying
- Social bullying
- Cyber bullying, and/or physical bullying.
It is important to never ignore bullying and never tell someone to ignore bullying. Individuals who are normally bullied are seen as different from their peers, weak or unable to defend themselves, having low self-esteem, less friends, and often do not get along well with the majority of other individuals. Do not blame the person for being bullied. Individuals more likely to bully others are often well connected to many people and groups, easily frustrated, think badly of others, have difficulty following rules, and have a history of viewing violence as a positive means of problem solving. Further, individuals who are often bullies often keep other bullies as their friends and close acquaintances.
Pay close attention to those around you, especially children to help protect those who are experiencing bullying. Warning signs of someone being bullied are unexplainable injuries, lost or destroyed material items, frequently feeling sick or ill, changing eating habits, and also nightmares and struggles sleeping. Other signs that someone is being bullied are increased feelings of helplessness, decreased self-esteem, declining productivity, not wanting to attend normally scheduled events in their lives (school/work), or possibly even self-destructive behaviors.
If someone you know is being bullied don’t ignore it or think the bully will go away. Get help immediately. There are many resources available for individuals with questions or for victims of bullying such as the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255, stopbullying.gov and Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center all available for free.
For local support Northwest Health Services has several Behavioral Health Providers that can help. For more information on our Behavioral Health team visit our website or call to set up an appointment at (816) 232-4417. Be sure to check back to www.nwhealth-services.org Friday and Saturday for parts two and three of our bullying prevention series.
Kathryn Worland, MSW, LCSW is the Director of Behavioral Health and Patient-Centered Medical Home at Northwest Health Services. Kathryn writes blogs for Northwest Health on behavioral health issues.