Childhood bullying has long-term effects; Victims can face psychiatric issues as adults

By DENISE M. BARAN-UNLAND
The Herald News
Joliet, Illinois — Pediatricians might consider screening their young patients for symptoms of bullying during routine, preventative check-ups, said Dr. Thomas Moore, pediatrician at Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet.

“When I did a little research I learned that bullying is more common than I thought and it can cause long-term damage,” Moore said. “Both the bullies and the victims have an increased risk of psychiatric problems down the road.”
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Finland study: Problems later for school bullies, victims

By Amy Norton
Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) — School children who bully or are victims of bullying may face higher risks of anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders later in life, a new study finds.

The study, which followed more than 5,000 children in Finland, found that boys and girls who were frequently bullied were at greater risk than their peers of needing psychiatric treatment in their teens or early 20s.
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Study: Schools failing on bullying, violence

PRNewswire
ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ⁣ Key to a child’s
successful education is an environment in which he or she can learn safely.

According to a report released today by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
National Poll on Children’s Health, only 26 percent of parents would give
their child’s high school an “A” for preventing bullying and school violence,
and 38 percent of parents would give their child’s elementary or junior high
an “A.”
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Back in school, kids face nasty bullying reality

BY TRACY TOWNSEND
The Columbus Dispatch/WBNS-10TV
In movies as diverse as A Christmas Story, Stand by Me and Back to the Future, Hollywood has treated bullying as a largely harmless — if not humorous — rite of passage.

In real life, bullying is anything but funny.

“Children who are bullied may be afraid to go to school,” stated a recent Mayo Clinic report. “They may complain of headaches or stomachaches and have trouble concentrating on schoolwork.”
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Study: Short kids don’t get bullied more

United Press International
NEW YORK, Aug. 18 (UPI) — A University of Michigan study of sixth graders finds the short are no more likely to be bullied than other students.

But short people tell ABC News that was not their experience, either in school or as adults.

“I wish that were true,” said Matt Campisi, chairman of the National Organization of Short Statured Adults. “Most of the members would love that to be the reality, but unfortunately the feedback we receive from parents is the complete opposite.”
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Middle-school years call for patience, parental involvement

infoZine
MANHATTAN, Kansas — A new school year can offer its share of challenges and opportunities, yet parents may not realize that, for many children, the middle school years may be the most troublesome, said Charles A. “Chuck” Smith, a Kansas State University Research and Extension child development specialist.

Middle school years are mentally and physically challenging and, for students and their parents, often filled with anxiety and uncertainty, he said.

Much is new, said Smith, who noted that middle school students often advance to a larger building that may be in unfamiliar surroundings. They’re also asked to mix with students from other schools, adjust to a new class schedule and a variety of teaching styles, all while growing and developing as young adults.

Middle school students typically want to fit in, but not call attention to themselves, he said.

Hormones are raging. Peer pressure is prevalent, and bullying, well, which is better? To be a victim — or a bystander, afraid to step in for fear of being the next victim? said Smith, who offered tips for parents of middle schoolers: Full story.

Teen’s suicide after bullying at school stuns Illinois suburb

By Gerry Smith
Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — The bullying seemed inescapable. His family and friends say it followed Iain Steele from junior high to high school — from hallways, where one tormentor shoved him into lockers, to cyberspace, where another posted a video on Facebook making fun of his taste for heavy metal music.

“At one point, (a bully) had told (Iain) he wished he would kill himself,” said Matt Sikora, Iain’s close friend.

Iain’s parents know their son had other problems, but they believe the harassment contributed to a deepening depression that hospitalized the 15-year-old twice this year. On June 3, while his classmates were taking final exams, he went to the basement of his home and hanged himself with a belt. His death stunned his quiet suburb west of Chicago and unleashed an outpouring of support for his parents, William and Liz, who say greater attention should be paid to bullying and its connection to mental health.

“No kid should be afraid for himself to go to school,” his father said. “It should be a safe environment where they can intellectually thrive. And he was, literally, just frightened to go to school, fearing what he would have to deal with on that day. And it was day after day.”

A school spokeswoman said she did not believe Iain was bullied. Police are investigating the allegations.

Nearly 30 percent of American children are bullied or are bullies themselves, according to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center. Bullying can be physical, verbal or psychological and is repetitive, intentional and creates a perceived imbalance of power, said Dr. Joseph Wright, senior vice president at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington.

Soon, the American Academy of Pediatrics will for the first time include a section on bullying in its official policy statement on the pediatrician’s role in preventing youth violence.

Wright, a lead author of the statement, said the decision to address the issue was due to a growing body of research over the last decade linking bullying to youth violence, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Last year, the Yale School of Medicine conducted analysis of the link between childhood bullying and suicide in 37 studies from 13 countries, finding both bullies and their victims were at high risk of contemplating suicide.

In March, the parents of a 17-year-old Ohio boy who committed suicide filed a lawsuit against his school alleging their son was bullied. Instead of seeking compensation, they are asking the school to put in place an anti-bullying program and to recognize their son’s death as a “bullicide.” Full story.