Throughout our region, bright eyed children are seen backpack adorned- walking, biking or clambering onto shiny yellow school busses…making their way to class during the launch of the new school year.
This juxtaposes the sad reality that many will experience bullying or will be the perpetrators of bullying throughout the course of the year. An estimated 160,000 children throughout the US will miss school every day out of the fear of being the target of bullying.
Even sadder is the loss of a child’s life because of the harm associated with relentless bullying.
13 year-old Daniel Fitzpatrick, of Brooklyn New York, had given up and was no longer able to withstand the constant torment from abusive classmates. His family had tried different avenues to no avail. Last Thursday he hung himself to be found by his older sister. Our condolences go out to his family and closest friends who have now become one of every 21 Americans who has lost someone to suicide and is labeled a “Suicide Loss Survivor.”
The most recent 2014 CDC stats have listed suicide as the second leading cause of death for teens and young adults, with accidents at number one (taking over homicides as the leading cause of death over previous years.) Ages 10-24 represented 5,504 of the known suicide deaths. This number reflects children, teens and young adults who have perhaps struggled with mental and or emotional health issues and or bullying. Bullyingstatistics.org states that for every suicide completed there are at least 100 suicides attempted. Yale studies claim that bullying victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non- victims.
September is a couple of weeks away, and will usher in National Suicide Awareness & Prevention. Foster an open line of communication with your kids- remember that it is ok to talk about mental health.
October will spotlight National Bullying Prevention. Take the time to teach your kids about bullying and the harm it can do to both bullies and those being bullied. Help them to learn what to do if they witness bullying. Keep an open line of communication with your child’s school.
Visit Stopbullying.gov or call 2-1-1 to learn about more resources. “Help Starts Here!”