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 2 – How to Talk About Bullying
Witnessing any type of bullying or learning about bullying is an uncomfortable feeling that no one likes to talk about. However, the power imbalance created by bullying must not be ignored as each person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Kathryn in the previous post wrote about recognizing the signs that someone is being bullied or may be a bully is the first step in taking action against a bully.
In regards to children, parents have a responsibility to talk to their children about bullying, helping them understand what bullying is, and helping them to create a safe plan to address bullying if they see it. Keep the lines of communication with children open and honest, encourage them to do what they love, know their friends well, and provide adequate supervision to ensure they are building positive relationships with the individuals they surround themselves with. Help children create a list of safe individuals who they can talk to if they are being bullied or see someone being bullied. Encourage them to call 911 if they witness bullying that is or may be physically or emotionally dangerous to themselves or another person.
As an adult, bullying can still occur in a much different way than children may experience in a school environment. Keep open lines of communication with friends and acquaintances in the work environment and your social life. If a friend is being bullied, speak with them to assist in creating a safety plan to address the bullying. In the work environment speak with members of management to address possibly issues of bullying and never be afraid to call 911 if a situation is physically or emotionally dangerous to a person.
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 on Saturday for part three of our bullying prevention series.
Carrie Flanagan, LCSW is Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Northwest Health Services. Carrie occasionally writes blogs for Northwest Health on behavioral health issues.