Youth Suicide and Bullying: Challenges and Strategies for Prevention and Intervention

Youth Suicide and Bullying: Challenges and Strategies for Prevention and Intervention

Youth Suicide and Bullying: Challenges and Strategies for Prevention and Intervention

Youth Suicide and Bullying: Challenges and Strategies for Prevention and Intervention

Synopsis

High profile media reports of young people committing suicide after experiencing bullying have propelled a national conversation about the nature and scope of this problem and the means to address it. Specialists have long known that involvement in bullying in any capacity (as the victim or as the perpetrator) is associated with higher rates of suicidal ideation and behaviors, but evidence about which bullying subtype is at greatest risk is more mixed. For instance, some studies have shown that the association between suicidal ideation and bullying is stronger for targets of bullying than perpetrators. However, another study found that after controlling for depression, the association was strongest for perpetrators. Similar disagreement persists with regard to gender disparities relating to bullying and self-harm, for instance. Youth Suicide and Bullying presents an authoritative review of the science demonstrating the links between these two major public health concerns alongside informed discussion and evidence-based recommendations. The volume provides sound, scientifically grounded, and effective advice about bullying and suicide at every level: national, state, and community. Chapters provide details on models of interpersonal aggression; groups at risk for both bullying and suicide (such as sexual minorities); the role of stigma; family, school, and community-based youth bullying and suicide prevention programs, and more. Each chapter concludes with recommendations for mental health providers, educators, and policymakers. Compiling knowledge from the most informed experts and providing authoritative research-based information, this volume supports efforts to better understand and thereby reducethe prevalence of victimization and suicide.

Excerpt

On September 22, 2010, Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old university freshman, jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge in New York City following an incidence of cyberbullying that publicly exposed him kissing another man. This incident and the following media explosion (over 300 print stories that year) stimulated a national discussion on the role of bullying and harassment in youth suicide. It also highlighted the prevalence of peer victimization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. the response to this incident, and several other highly publicized suicide deaths that appeared to be related to bullying, has come both from official sources, including President Obama, and from community efforts to protect vulnerable youth.

This book identifies and addresses the challenges of youth bullying and suicide in a balanced and scientific manner. Through the inclusion of nationally recognized authorities within the fields of both bullying and suicide, this book serves as a one-stop source for state-of-the-science information and perspectives that can inform further research and the promotion of scientifically based interventions that are systematic and cost-effective. We believe that, along with general recommendations to prevent these phenomena, policies and approaches must come from a working collaboration between concerned citizens and professionals who consider their own unique community-contextual factors to help communities take control of their own public health. We see the audience for our work as including those who either work with youth as school staff, practitioners, youth advocates, researchers, or parents, or who are at the forefront of developing or informing policies to prevent these behaviors. Finally, we hope that the approach that we take integrating an educational and public health view of the problem will promote new directions in training students in education, health sciences, and public health.

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