|Bullying and Suicides ~ the Relationship|
|By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ|
Make bullying a priority for 2013
Never before has the act of bullying reach such catastrophic proportions in our country today. More kids are dying needlessly after being subjected by bullying from their friends, classmates or even their own family members. Time after time, their deaths are directly related to being bullying in a society that is so unforgiving and so judgmental that puts too much pressure on kids growing up today creating mass confusion and deep pains too much to handle at such a young age.
Kids today are being bullied in various ways and often without the knowledge of their parents. They are bullied while in school, at play or at work with many not being aware of the serious consequences of such behaviors imposed. There are more and more cases where bullying and suicides are more than implied connections and the truth reveals there is a cultural awareness as well as denial that bullying our kids may leads to death.
Two main factors have been identified as contributing causes in young aged suicides. Mental health providers have maintained that although the reasons for suicides may not be bullying by itself, they have said that the emotional instabilities and impacts of depression and severe anxiety are key elements of suicidal ideations and acts. This is in addition to any mental health disorder this young person might have had at the time of their death.
Is this to simple to understand? Are there answers for such misconduct and consequences? As parents or family members we must bend backwards and shout out loudly our concerned and awareness of this symptom that is killing our kids today. What is most fearful of our society today is the perception that suicides are a normal societal value thus not warranting any extra prevention or cautionary methods to intervene with such deaths.
Merely shrugging it off as an explainable phenomenon, society has robbed our children of help and prevention resources readily available upon request. Suicides are more complicated and often misunderstood by those that ask the most common question “why” and leave it at that. There is no simplicity to suicides as there are no simple answers why bullying contributes to so many deaths in our society today. The reader will quite often rationalize the answer by simply stating the most obvious answer which is bullying finds victims and victims kill themselves when the pressure exceeds their ability to cope and function with the behavior. Cruel intentions have become a way of our societal behaviors that are accepted by many as normal.
Looking at the vulnerability factors we can glean several attitudes or deeds that come into play of such actions. Many kids are involved in sports, arts or other events that brings with it pressure to exceed and compete with others for either special honors or recognition or self-satisfaction.
Thus how this competitiveness of winning or losing impacts our kids is important. We all know that bullying or daring someone to exceed or perform the extreme of such activities can be harmful and dangerous in many different ways especially if such an activity is acerbated by an existing mental health condition.
Competition and daring someone to do something of the extreme is a challenge to that person’s strengths and weakness. This could in fact be a case where their strength may actually bring out their weaknesses as they are ill prepared or not conditioned to make such an extreme attempt to overcome the dare or challenge. It is the failure of such events that may lead to personal dissatisfaction, humiliation, guilt, or disrespect that triggers the depression and anxiety in their minds.
The aggravation of depression or anxiety increases suicide risks in young people. It should not be ignored or marginalized as it it’s a common thread between suicide and death. Without warning, this aggravation of negative thoughts can and do lead to painful feelings that are very hard to cope with especially for a child or young adolescent.
Therefore because aggravated conditions of physical and emotional conflict or failures are seen to be normal, there are no triggers that would indicate there is a relationship between these events and suicides thereafter. Society forgets that children and young adolescents are experiencing many different emotions when going through hormonal changes and fail to address this in a timely manner so the can intervene, seek support or control the deadly effects of such an epidemic that exists in our society today.
Society, schools and families are not treating bullying as a disease or symptom of death. They have accepted the norm and never once considered it to be a factor of a public health or mental health concerns and in dire need of delicate solutions to reduce suicidal behaviors.
The number of kids committing suicides keeps rising and there appears to be no end to this epidemic until the dynamics of bullying and its impacts are accepted as abnormal characteristics of our society and dealt with in an effective prevention methods and efforts.
It is the responsibility of our generation and those following us to keep working on this most important condition that is destroying our youth today without remorseful feelings.
Make bullying a priority in 2013 to save our kids.
Editor’s note: Carl ToersBijns (retired), worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Car’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."
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