Essay on the Complex Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide
Number of words: 692
In the past few decades, headlines reporting tragic stories of young individual’s suicide death that is linked in some way to bullying have unfortunately become common. According to Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA), bullying is an unwanted aggressive behavior among children aged between 9-18 years, and it involves a perceived or real power imbalance. Additionally, bullying is a behavior which can be can be repetitive or has the potential to be repeated over time. On the other hand, suicide is a death caused by a self-directed injurious behavior and intent to die (CDC, 2014). Due to the pain and suffering associated with these two events, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and various violence prevention researchers and partners have invested in learning the relationship between these two public health problems. The goal is to use knowledge to save lives and prevent future bullying (CDC, 2014). The paper will explore the relationship between bullying and suicide and further highlight strategies for preventing and assisting children who have been bullied.
Bullying is experienced in two ways; one can experience bullying physically through a face-to-face scenario or social media. School-aged children are the most common victims of bullying. These children bully or are bullied by their peers, usually on face-to-face encounters while in school. For example, according to a national survey, 46% of students aged between 12-18 years were bullied in school. Similarly, 19% of 9-12-year-old children were also bullied in school, according to a report conducted in the U.S. (ASPA, 2019a). Therefore, it is evident that bullying is a national wide public health problem among young people.
Meanwhile, people who engage in suicidal behavior usually experience overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. In addition, bullying behavior has been identified as one of the stressors that can significantly contribute to hopelessness and helplessness. As a result, it escalates the risk of suicide. With this in mind, it is evident that suicide-related behavior and bullying behavior are closely related. Additionally, teenagers who report any involvement with bullying behavior are likely to report a high degree of suicide-related behavior than teenagers who do not report any form of involvement with bullying behavior (CDC, 2014). In response to the above case, CDC and various violence prevention partners have discovered several strategies that society can use to stop bullying on the spot.
To stop bullying on the spot, ASPA suggests that adults should respond fast and consistently to bullying behaviors to send the message that such behavior is unacceptable. Research has revealed that such a move can ultimately stop bullying over time. Additionally, school staff, parents, and other members in the community can prevent bullying by discussing it with children, building a safe school environment, and developing a community-wide anti-bullying strategy (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000). Further, adults should inform the youth that Even though bullying is not classified as a criminal offense, it appears in the criminal code of various states, and it can apply to juveniles (ASPA, 2019b). By adhering to the above measures, society will be able to end bullying, and as a result, reduce the risk of suicide that is linked to bullying.
In conclusion, youth and adults should work as a team in preventing and assisting children who are being bullied or those bullying others. Additionally, adults should inform the youth that bullying does not only occur in school; it can happen anywhere at any time, including through the internet, social media, and texting. Lastly, as a youth, if you are bullied, report to an adult, and if you are bullying, you should stop because it is not cool.
ASPA. (2019a, September 24). Facts About Bullying. StopBullying.gov; StopBullying.gov. https://www.stopbullying.gov/resources/facts
ASPA. (2019b, September 24). Laws, Policies & Regulations. StopBullying.gov; StopBullying.gov. https://www.stopbullying.gov/resources/laws
CDC. (2014). The Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide: What We Know and What it Means for Schools. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/bullying-suicide-translation-final-a.pdf
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2000). StopBullying.gov. StopBullying.gov. https://www.stopbullying.gov/