Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More
A very troubling finding was reported by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine in the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health. The report summarized findings from 13 nations. According to the findings there may be a link between bullying and suicidal ideation in children and adolescents.
While there are limitations to the study, as, for example, that it is not yet know whether there is a link between bullying and actual suicide among children and teens, future studies are under way to further clarify these types of issues.
One of the factors that the study pointed to is the tendency of adults to dismiss bullying as a harmless prank. As Dr. Dombeck has written about elsewhere on this site, bullying is neither harmless nor something that should be dismissed as childish pranks. Instead, we know for a fact that bullying has devastating consequences for people into their adulthood.
Interestingly, one of the facts that came to light in this study was the fact that suicidal ideation was prevalent no only among the children targeted for bullying but among the bullies themselves. This is important because I believe it is important not to vilify or demonize youngsters who bully but to understand what types of serious problems led them to become aggressive and harmful to others.
As I read this article I wondered about where the parents are of all of these children, both bullies and the bullied. Parents are supposed to be the socializing agents of children. In other words, parents are supposed to orient children towards the responsibilities they will have to face as responsible adults. In addition, parents are supposed to protect their children, interceding and acting on their behalf when things happen at school and elsewhere. Is this not happening?
I read a related study recently that reported that the children who avoid going to school often do so because they are fearful. This finding is hardly surprising in light of the information about bullying. It is important to emphasize the fact that these are not American problems. Instead, the issue of bullying and avoiding school exist in nations around the world.
Is it any surprise, then, that the World Health Organization reports that Major Depression is already epidemic around the globe and will become worse in years to come?
What are your thoughts about these issues and your ideas about possible solutions?