SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The start to a new school year is an exciting time for many students and parents. But for some, it’s also a tough time when they’re having to adjust to new classes, teachers and other students. Some of those new classmates may not be as pleasant as others and for those who’ve been a victim of bullying or worry about being bullied, the new school year can be a recipe for constant anxiety.
According to Stop Out Bullying, some kids are so ‘tormented’ by their bullies that they actually choose suicide as alternative to their pain. We should teach kids that nothing is bad enough to take their own life and taking your own life is never the answer.
We all have choices and we all should choose to live.
We tackled bullying and suicide, in our latest KSLA Cafe’.
Bullying can appear in many different forms:
- Physical Bullying - The most obvious form of intimidation and can consist of kicking, hitting, biting, pinching, hair pulling, and making threats. A bully may threaten to punch you if you don’t give up your money, your lunch, etc.
- Verbal Bullying - Often accompanies physical behavior. This can include name calling, spreading rumors, and persistent teasing.
- Emotional Intimidation - Closely related to these two types of bullying. A bully may deliberately exclude you from a group activity such as a party or school outing.
- Racist Bullying -Can take many forms: making racial slurs, spray painting graffiti, mocking the victim’s cultural customs, and making offensive gestures.
- Sexual Bullying - Unwanted physical contact or abusive comments.
- Cyberbullying - One or a group of kids or teens using electronic means via computers and mobile phones (emails, Web sites, chat rooms, instant messaging and texting) to torment, threaten, harass, humiliate, embarrass or target another kid or teen.
If your child is being bullied they may show these signs at home:
- Have trouble getting out of bed
- Not want to go to school
- Change their method or route to school or become frightened of walking to school
- Change their sleeping or eating patterns
- Have frequent tears, anger, mood swings and anxiety
- Have unexplained bruises, cuts and scratches
- Have stomach aches or unexplained pain
- Have missing or damaged belongings or clothes
- Ask for extra pocket money or food
- Arrive home hungry
- Show an unwillingness to discuss, or secrecy about, their online communication.
If your child is being bullied they may show these signs at school:
- Become aggressive and unreasonable
- Start to get into fights
- Refuse to talk about what is wrong
- Have unexplained bruises, cuts, scratches, particularly those appearing after recess or lunch
- Have missing or damaged belongings or clothes
- Have falling school grades
- Be alone often or excluded from friendship groups at school
- Show a change in the their ability or willingness to speak up in class
- Appear insecure or frightened
- Be a frequent target for teasing, mimicking or ridicule.
According to StopBullying.com, if you have done everything you can to resolve the situation of bullying and nothing has worked or someone is in immediate danger, there are ways to get help:
Warning signs for suicide according to, Stomp out Bullying:
- Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
- Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
- Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities - seemingly without thinking
- Feeling trapped - like there's no way out
- Increasing alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
- Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Experiencing dramatic mood changes
- Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life
How to help a suicidal friend:
- Listen: People who are suicidal people think that they’re not understood. They think no one is listening and that no one takes them seriously.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to them about suicide: If someone is feeling depressed, you’re not telling them to think about suicide. It’s actually safer to talk about it so you know what they’re thinking!
- Accept your friend’s feelings: Take them seriously. Don’t try to cheer them up, don’t make jokes. DO get them help!
- Ask your friend if they have a suicide plan: If they’ve thought their suicide plan out well, you know it’s time to get IMMEDIATE help for them.
- Remove dangerous objects: Look for razors, sleeping pills, guns, knives, ropes that can be used for strangulation and remove them IMMEDIATELY.
- Tell a trusted adult: This is not a secret you should ever keep – no matter how much your friend swears you to secrecy! Don’t make secrecy deals with anyone who is suicidal and tell a trusted adult IMMEDIATELY!
- Support your friend: Let them know you’re concerned and urge them to stick it out a little longer – because things CAN change. Tell them that depressed feelings do change over time.
- Make them understand that suicide is final--it cannot be changed.
- DO NOT leave a person whom you feel is at “High Risk” for suicide alone, not even for a minute
If a person has told you they have suicidal feelings, have a plan and have a time set, always take them seriously. A person who is “high risk” for suicide should not be left alone.
If you or someone you know is on the verge of suicide call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or go to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately so you can get help!
Bullying & Suicide Resources: