Wow! Is this really the last week of October? Where did it all go and why did it go so quickly? It seems like when I was younger, every day moved so slowly. I thought I’d never reach adulthood, and here I am in my late twenties wishing things would slow down, appreciating every single moment, relishing it as if it were my last. The sad thing is that for so many people, these sweet and precious little moments are few and far in between.
Did you know that one out of every four students (22%) report being bullied during the school year? Did you know that 64% of children who are bullied don’t report it? How about 90% of teens who report being cyberbullied have also been bullied offline? 81.9% of students who identify as LGBTQ are bullied. 63.5% of students feel unsafe because of their sexual orientation, while 43.9% feel unsafe because of their gender expression. LGBTQ students aren’t the only ones who report being bullied. Students of color, students who are perceived as overweight, students who have disabilities, and everything in between have also been victimized.
Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for sleep difficulties, anxiety, depression, and a number of other negative mental and physical health effects. Students who engage in bullying behavior are at increased risk for academic problems, substance abuse, and violent behavior into adulthood.
Because October is National Bullying Prevention Month, it’s important for us to not only be aware of bullying and its effects, but also understand what we can do to prevent it so that more and more people can experience those sweet and precious little moments that fly by nowadays. So, what can we do?
- Treat everyone with kindness and respect (despite their differences).
- Talk to someone you trust or call a help hotline.
- Speak up–whether you’re the one being bullied or seeing someone bullied, if you see something, say something.
- Be there: support, listen, advise, care.
Words matter. Actions matter. We can all do our part to make this world a kinder, gentler, more understanding and accepting place…if we only try.