I’m surprised to say that, and I only realized this a couple of days ago, that the 1st link that comes up under the term “Join the Anti-Bullying Movement” on Yahoo and Google is mine! It’s not as if I coined the phrase, and it’s not a new concept, so not sure why…especially since my blog is dedicated primarily to postpartum depression/maternal mental health issues and awareness. But I’ll take it! 🙂
This is an important issue, and it is so disheartening when you hear, just today that another child, this time a 14 year old in Iowa, has become another victim of bullycide (the term used for children who commit suicide as a consequence of bullying). Bullying must stop! The only way that’s going to happen, though, is for students, school staff, and parents to band together and prevent further tragedies from occurring. No child should have to feel so victimized that they succumb to depression, low self esteem, cutting, etc. I guest posted a few days ago over at the blog My Kindness Counts about my reflections on the movie “Bully” that was recently released. My post includes things we can all do to to try to put an end to bullying. My Kindness Counts is written by a young girl named Jessica, whose mission is to encourage young people from around the nation to work together to come up with more positive ways to address bullying in our communities. I applaud her efforts, as well as the efforts of a growing number of other young folks in this country, to try to help fellow teens get through what I refer to as some of the most challenging years of their lives.
The roots of depression most often stem from early childhood through teenage years. Early bonding experiences with parents, stability of living conditions, quality friendships and an environment in which the parents serve as positive role models and are nurturing are key to minimizing self esteem issues that seem to be what so many youth struggle with. Verbal, emotional and physical abuse, a parent(s) that is depressed and/or an alcoholic, and bullying in school all take a tremendous toll on a child’s sense of security and self esteem. The result of low self esteem include eating disorders, cutting, doing drugs, drinking, and depression. It doesn’t help that the teenage years are a time in which physical and behavioral changes occur that challenge self confidence levels and a sense of identity (in which a sense of belonging is important) as well. The way a young person reacts to adversity, like bullying for example, depends on his/her overall emotional health and level of self confidence.
Our youth represent our future. Let’s help make sure their teenage years are positive experiences. Let’s help make sure depression rates don’t continue to climb. Let’s build a culture of empathy. Let’s speak up about mental health issues and keep the attitudes about these issues going in a positive direction via the daily dialogues we have, rather than continuing to sweep them under the rug with a See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, there’s nothing wrong, they’ll get over it, attitude….and an attitude that perpetuates the stigma and ignorance that has kept us in the dark, all blind, deaf, and mute for far too long. The statistics indicate that each and every one of us knows someone who is struggling with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, or some other mental illness. We need to get a grip on reality, smell the coffee…whatever! You get the picture….or do you? I surely hope so!