Information about Bullying and Suicide

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1 Information about Bullying and Suicide

2 Definition of Bullying Although definitions vary, most agree that bullying involves: Attack or intimidation with the intention to cause fear, distress, or harm that is either physical, verbal, or psychological/relational A real or perceived imbalance of power between the bully and the victim Repeated attacks or intimidation between the same children over time. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011; Olweus, 1991)

3 Children at Risk for Being Bullied have one or more of the following risk factors: Are perceived as different from their peers (Ex.: overweight, underweight, wear glasses, being new at school, unable to afford things consider cool ) Are perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves Are depressed, anxious, or have low self-esteem Are less popular than others and have few friends Do not get along well with others, seen as annoying, or provoking, or antagonize others for attention. (However, even if a child has these risk factors, it does not mean that they will be bullied.)

4 Children More Likely to Bully Others There are two types of kids who are more likely to bully others: Some are well-connected to their peers, are overly concerned with popularity, & like to dominate or be in charge of others Others are more isolated from their peers and may be depressed or anxious, have low selfesteem, be less involved in school, be easily pressured by peers, or not identify with the emotions or feelings of others.

5 Children who are 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 Do not need to be stronger or bigger than those they bully. The power imbalance can come from other sources popularity, strength, cognitive ability and children who bully may have more than one of these characteristics.

6 Suicide: Terms & Definitions Suicidal Ideation Thoughts of suicide Suicidal Behavior Behavior that is selfdirected, non-fatal, and deliberately results in injury and for which there is evidence of suicidal intent. Examples: suicide attempts, preparatory acts. Suicide Death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with any intent to die.

7 General Information about Suicide 15% of the general population has experienced thoughts of self-injury 85% of students will have suicide ideation before they are 18 Attempters and survivors are at greater risk for suicide Suicide is the 3 rd leading cause of death in ages For every completed suicide by youths, there are attempts

8 Youth Suicide Data Firearms remain the most commonly used suicide method among youth (52% completed suicides) Caucasian youth are more likely to complete suicide than African American youth. Most adolescent suicides occur after school hours and in the teen s home. Typical nonfatal attempter is a female who ingests pills; 2 nd completed suicide method Second most common method for male completers is hanging.

9 More Data re Youth Most adolescent suicide attempts are precipitated by interpersonal conflicts. INTENT is to affect change in the behaviors or attitudes of others. Repeat attempters generally use their behavior to cope with stress and tend to exhibit more chronic symptoms, poorer coping histories, and higher presence of suicidal or substance abuse behaviors in their family histories.

10 Potential Risk Factors for Suicide among Youth--Assessing the Risk Presence of a psychiatric disorder (depression, AOD abuse, behavior disorders, conduct disorders (runaways or has been incarcerated) Expression of suicidal thoughts, death, dying, or afterlife Impulsive or aggressive behavior, frequent rage Increasing use of alcohol or drugs Exposure to another s suicidal behavior

11 More Potential Factors Recent severe stressor (difficulties dealing with sexual orientation, unplanned pregnancy, significant real or anticipated loss) Family instability, significant family conflict Victims of violence (rape, abuse, etc.) Acting out person (someone who does not talk about feelings and acts out on themselves instead (punches the wall, selfmutilates

12 Suicide rates are connected to loss and loneliness. 2/3 of children prior to age 10 experience death of a grandparent, parent, sibling, or friend. 5% of children experience death of a parent by age 16. It is, therefore, highly likely that you will see a grieving child almost every day even though you don t see any children grieving.

13 La. Caring Communities Survey: 2008 & 2010 CPSS Results Students indicating that they have seriously considered suicide in last 12 months: 18.00% 16.00% 14.00% 12.00% 10.00% 8.00% 6.00% 4.00% 2.00% 0.00% 18% 16.70% 13.10% 13.60% 12.30% 8.10% 9.40% 9.70% 6th 8th 10th 12th

14 There is an overlap in Risk and Protective Factors for Bullying & Suicide Overlapping Risk Factors: Depression, anxiety, poor emotion regulation, and poor impulse control Overlapping Protective Factors: Connectedness: A school environment that discourages bullying; Students who support each other emotionally. Having a social support system Efforts to reduce the social isolation of at-risk students

15 Signs a Child is Being Bullied Unexplainable injuries Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home hungry because they did not eat lunch. Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares Declining grades, loss of interest in school, or not wanting to go to school. Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide.

16 Signs a Child is Bullying Others Kids may be bullying others if they: Get into physical or verbal fights Have friends who bully others Get sent to the principal s office or to detention frequently Have unexplained money or new belongings Blame others for their problems Don t accept responsibility for their actions Are competitive and worry about reputation or popularity

17 Warning Signs of Suicide Remember Is path warm : I Ideation mention of suicide even in passing, threats, preoccupation with death S P A T H W A R M Substance Abuse Purposeless Anxiety Trapped Hopelessness Withdrawal Anger Recklessness Mood Changes can include abrupt up-swing in feelings after feeling helpless

18 Conclusions: A Complex Relationship exists between Bullying & Risk of Suicide Bullying puts students at increased risk of suicidal ideation and behavior It is not necessarily the bullying per se. There are other important factors to consider. Suicidal ideation and behavior is usually not attributed to just one event or factor. Bully, victim, and those who are both bully and victim are more likely to be depressed than children who are not involved in bullying. Both victims and bullies are at higher risk for suicide than their peers. Of these groups, bullies who are also victims are at highest risk for suicide. Boys and girls have different risk factors. Girls are more at risk for negative psychological outcomes than boys. Students involved in frequent bullying behavior should be screened for suicidal ideation/behavior. Research indicates that the relationship between bullying and suicide risk was stronger for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-gender youth than for heterosexual youth.

19 Stop bullying on the spot. Bullying Intervention Intervene immediately. Separate the kids involved. Make sure everyone is safe. Meet any immediate medical or mental health needs. Stay calm. Reassure the children involved, including bystanders. Model respectful behavior when you intervene. Get police help if needed. Find out what happened. Get the facts. Determine if it is bullying. Support the students involved. Support the victim Address bullying behavior Support bystanders who witness bullying (for additional information, go to )

20 Be non-judgmental Suicide Intervention Treat the problem seriously and take all threats seriously Ask direct questions such as, Have you been thinking about killing yourself? Communicate your concern and support Offer yourself as a caring listener until professional help can be arranged. Do not leave the person alone if you feel the threat is imminent Do not swear to secrecy. Inform the school counselor and/or principal

21 Recommendations 1. Start prevention early. Bullying begins at an age before many of the warning signs of suicide are evident. 2. Keep up with technology. Bullying often takes place in areas hidden from adult supervision. Cyberbullying has become such an area. 3. Engage the bystander. Peers are often the first to know about bullying situations and friends who may be suicidal. 4. Pay attention to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth (LGBT) and young people who do not conform to gender expectations. These youth are at increased risk for both bullying victimization and suicidal behavior. 5. Use a comprehensive approach. Reducing the risk of bullying and suicide requires interventions that focus on young people (ex: mental health services for youth suffering from depression) as well as the environment (especially the school and family environments) in which they live.

22 RESOURCES for this presentation include: Suicide Prevention Resource Center American foundation for Suicide Prevention National Registry of Evidence-Based Practices and Progams Blueprints for Violence Prevention

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