What Is Anti-Bullying Week?
Anti-Bullying Week is an annual event organized by the Anti-Bullying Alliance in England and Wales that raises awareness around bullying of youth and teaches ways to prevent and respond to bullying. This year’s event runs Monday, Nov. 14 through Friday, Nov. 18 with the theme of “Reach Out.” This theme is meant to encourage youth and adults to take action to combat the hurt and harm caused by bullying and to support one another.[i]
What Is Bullying and Why Is it Harmful?
Bullying is unwanted aggressive behavior between youth that is repeated or likely to be repeated and involves a power imbalance, whether observed or perceived, according to the CDC. Bullying may include verbal harm such as teasing and name-calling; physical harm like hitting, pushing, or kicking; damage to the victim’s property; relational or social harm like intentionally making someone feel left out or spreading rumors; and/or cyberbullying, which occurs through technology.
One in five high school students reported experiencing bullying on school property, and one in six high school students reported being cyberbullied in the last year, the CDC reports. Bullying can cause great harm to youth, including emotional distress, physical injury, self-harm, and sometimes even death. It also puts people at greater risk of experiencing anxiety, depression, and sleep issues, can lead to lower academic achievement or cause students to drop out of school.[ii]
Youth who bully others are also at risk of negative consequences, such as increased risk of substance misuse and academic problems. When youth who bully others are also bullied themselves, they are at greater risk of developing mental health and behavioral health issues.[iii]
Ways to Participate in Anti-Bullying Week
There are many ways you can participate in Anti-Bullying Week. If you have kids, talk to them about the harm of bullying and how to safely stand up to it or get help when they witness it. You can also show youth how to treat other people by modeling kindness towards others. Additionally, you can participate in Odd Socks Day on Nov. 14 by wearing mismatched socks to show support for all the things that make us unique.
How to Prevent and Respond to Bullying Year Round
Talking to youth about bullying isn’t just for Anti-Bullying Week – it’s an important conversation to have throughout the year. Talk to youth about ways to handle bullying and show support for those being bullied.
There are also steps you can take to properly respond to bullying. If you witness bullying, intervene immediately and calmly to stop the bullying behavior and check that everyone is safe. Talk to the kids involved separately and don’t ask witnesses to publicly describe what they saw.[iv]
Contact Connections Health Solutions
Bullying can cause emotional distress. If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health or behavioral health crisis, contact Connections Health Solutions for help.