And Is More Detrimental To Mental Health
A good-looking 16-year-old gifted with a beautiful voice and athletic skills, Brianne’s future looked as bright as the sun. But some of the girls in her school think otherwise. Spurned by jealousy of her popularity, they antagonized her by leaving mean notes inside her locker and nastily telling her she had no future.
This went on for months until one night she slashed both her wrists and died after a week on life support. Part of her mother’s speech during her funeral was this:
“Brianne’s bullies, heartless abusers [that’s] what you are! Are you happy now that she’s dead?”
Brianne is just one of the many kids in the US alone who experience bullying in various forms. Statistically, at least 1 out of 5 American students is being bullied. According to Dr. James C. Strickland, Psychologist, “Typically, a bully is a predator; somebody who has high but unstable self-esteem.” Out of this number:
- 13% said they were subjected to name calling, made the laughingstock of schoolmates and were verbally insulted.
- Another 12% stated they were bullied by being the fodder of their school’s gossips.
- 5% experienced physical assault from their bullies like being spat on, shoved, pushed and tripped.
- And 5% said they were bullied by being deliberately excluded from participating in activities.
In the past, bullying was seen as part of the rite of passage from childhood into adulthood. It may have been in that premise that the old adage “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” came up.
However, a number of experts and anti-bullying advocates have argued that childhood bullying experiences can scar a person for life. And now, a recent study backs this up.
A researcher from the University of Warwick interviewed some 4,000 kids who were victims of different forms of abuse and bullying from the UK and the US along with their parents. They were also evaluated for mental health dilemmas when they reached 18.
The results were as follows:
- In the US group, the abuse didn’t show a connection to depression while in the UK group, it did.
- For both groups, there was a significant connection between bullying and the development of mental health problems.
Working through the data they gathered, the research team came to this conclusion: THAT BULLIED KIDS ARE FIVE TIMES MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO SUFFER FROM ANXIETY AND TWO TIMES MORE LIKELY TO REPORT FEELING DEPRESSED AND DO SELF-HARM WHEN THEY REACH 18.
The Disorders Bullying Cause
Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia is the most prevalent form of anxiety problem brought about by childhood bullying. This is especially true for kids who have speech impediments [like stuttering] and those who get teased or laughed at because of this. People who suffer from this condition constantly suffer from panic attacks when they’re set to be in groups or social settings and dread going out of their safe zones for fear of meeting people or having had to talk to others. According to Paulette Sherman, PsyD, psychologist, “Social anxiety is about the person suffering from it — it stems from their own feelings and symptoms about interacting socially in general.”
Another anxiety disorder bullied individuals develop is the Body Dysmorphic Disorder. According to Kimberley Quinlan, LMFT, “Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a preoccupation of one or more parts of the body, and with it being perceived as ugly or disproportionate.” Sufferers of this mental condition – usually the ones taunted because of their physical appearance – think something is wrong with their bodies and spend most of their time worrying about these flaws.
Is bullying a form of abuse? The answer is a resounding YES!
Stand up against bullies by reporting them to those in authority. Help bullied kids by supporting them and taking the necessary steps to ease their negative feelings like talking to a therapist. Bullying is a serious problem that needs equally serious solutions.