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 3 | How to Stop Bullying
When a person, especially an adult responds quickly to bullying behavior, they send a message to others that bullying is not acceptable. If you see bullying occurring, intervene immediately or get other adults to help if needed. When possible, separate the individuals involved and make sure no one is hurt. Call 911 for assistance if there are injuries or the bullying has reached a point that you cannot intervene yourself safely.
Some of the most common mistakes that occur when an individual witnesses bullying is ignoring it, trying to immediately sort out the facts, or questioning the individuals involved in front of others. People are less likely to respond cooperatively if they are approached to address something in front of a crowd of people and peers. Some other common mistakes that occur when witnessing bullying, is talking to the individuals involved all in the same room or expecting apologies from everyone on the spot.
In some situations the police are required immediately. Also call the police first if a weapon is involved or there are threats of serious injuries. Contact the police if a hate crime is expected, serious bodily injury occurs, an illegal act is in progress, or sexual abuse is suspected. Never be afraid to get help and never ignore bullying.
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.
Christel Lankford, MSW, LCSW is Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Northwest Health Services. Christel occasionally writes blogs for Northwest Health on behavioral health issues.