Bullying Prevention Month: What you should know about the bully and mental health
from the Wilton Voluntee Ambulance Corps:
Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps Inc. (WVAC) is committed to providing both physical and emotional pre-hospital care for the community and supporting education, prevention and awareness on critical community issues. A recent survey revealed that the majority of WVAC members feel bullying is one of the most urgent concerns in our town and they want you to know they are here to help.
No single factor puts a child at risk of being bullied or bullying others. Bullying can happen anywhere — cities, suburbs, or rural towns. However, the mental health consequences and the importance of intervention, whether you are the bullied or the bully, are equally as important.
There are two types of children who are more likely to bully others:
• Some are well-connected to their peers, have social power, are overly concerned about their popularity, and like to dominate or be in charge of others.
• Others are more isolated from their peers and may be depressed or anxious, have low self-esteem, be less involved in school, be easily pressured by peers, or not identify with the emotions or feelings of others.
Children who have these factors are also more likely to bully others:
• Are aggressive or easily frustrated.
• Have less parental involvement or having issues at home.
• Think badly of others.
• Have difficulty following rules.
• View violence in a positive way.
• Have friends who bully others.
Remember, those who bully others do not need to be stronger or bigger than those they bully. The power imbalance can come from a number of sources — popularity, strength, cognitive ability — and children who bully may have more than one of these characteristics.
It’s extremely important to be able to recognize children who may be bullying others. Some of the warning signs may be that they:
• Get into physical or verbal fights.
• Have friends who bully others.
• Are increasingly aggressive.
• Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently.
• Have unexplained extra money or new belongings.
• Blame others for their problems.
• Don’t accept responsibility for their actions.
• Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity.
There are many warning signs that may indicate that someone is affected by bullying — either being bullied or bullying others. Recognizing the warning signs is an important first step in taking action against bullying. Not all children who are bullied or are bullying others ask for help.
It is important to talk with children who show signs of being bullied or bullying others. These warning signs can also point to other issues or problems, such as depression or substance abuse.
Bullying can affect everyone — those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes, including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide.
Children who bully others are at risk of mental health issues and may engage in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood. These children may engage in alcohol abuse and other drugs in adolescence, vandalism, early sexual activity, or criminal activity and ultimately become abusers as adults toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children.
If you know someone in serious distress or danger, don’t ignore the problem. WVAC urges you to seek help right away by calling 911.
It is also important that the bully receive counseling and other mental health services. To find a local counselor or other mental health services, visit http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov.
For more information on bulling, WVAC recommends stopbullying.gov.
The Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation. Information: wiltonambulance.org, facebook.com/WiltonVolunteerAmbulanceCorps.