Bullying, Suicide, and Homicide: Understanding, Assessing, and Preventing Threats to Self and Others for Victims of Bullying

Bullying, Suicide, and Homicide: Understanding, Assessing, and Preventing Threats to Self and Others for Victims of Bullying

Bullying, Suicide, and Homicide: Understanding, Assessing, and Preventing Threats to Self and Others for Victims of Bullying

Bullying, Suicide, and Homicide: Understanding, Assessing, and Preventing Threats to Self and Others for Victims of Bullying

Synopsis

This text provides a detailed understanding of the relationship between bullying, suicide and homicide, and offers an assessment and response strategy that is useful for mental health professionals who work with children.

Excerpt

I was like many others: a victim of bullying. My story has no tragic end or great triumph over adversity. It happened; I suffered to some degree and somehow navigated the experience through avoidance or fighting back. Beyond that, I have no real personal story of bullying to tell.

Some years back, many things seemed to converge all at once in my life. I was struggling to finish a doctoral degree and trying to figure out how to collect data for ethnographic research on the importance of family dinners. I was going nowhere with it. At the suggestion of my boss, I switched my research to collecting data on the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, a program that I had recently been certified to teach and was set to implement in four schools in a local district.

School had been in session for just over a month when we began the implementation of the Olweus program, and I concurrently began my data collection. During this time, I was asked to assist in the implementation in several schools of another prevention-based program called the Signs of Suicide. For this program, we surveyed every student in the schools and then conducted a personal interview with any student who was identified as a suicide risk. I was astounded by the number of children who reported that they had or were contemplating suicide to some degree because of the bullying they were experiencing. Surprisingly, we had never asked about bullying during the survey.

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