Bullying: The Forgotten Mental Health Issue

Written by Andee Weinfurt
Staff Writer, Balance Treatment Center

While many think bullying is no big deal, just a part of growing up, science is proving just how harmful the effects can be. Recently, the journal Pediatrics released a study that shows children who are bullied are twice as likely as other children to experience psychosomatic problems — real physical issues related to emotional factors. This report concludes that bullying should be considered “a significant international public health problem.”

Now with the advance of technology, the phenomenon has evolved. Through “cyberbullying” — involving text, social network postings, videos and other digital forms of communication — offensive or threatening messages are now saved in the virtual world, and can resurface at a moment’s notice. Study results co-sponsored by AP and MTV showed that of 14-to-24-year-olds, more than 75% feel that “digital abuse” is a serious problem for their age group. And they’re right — according to Yale University studies, bullying victims are more likely to commit suicide.

While past events like the NFL suspension of Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito, and the Florida bullying case of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick’s suicide made headlines, the issue of troubled teens rarely makes the news.

So, what can we do to generate and focus interest in preventing bullying? Join the movement underway at the bully project for more information on how to involve your community. Or start with your own family — we can help.

At Balance Treatment Center, we understand that the involvement of loved ones is key to the healing process. Our treatment team is trained in techniques to identify the symptoms of bullying — on both sides — and help those dealing with painful emotions, anxiety, self-injurious behavior and other struggles.

Contact us to find out what you can do if someone you know is being bullied, and ask about our Parent Support Group sessions.

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