October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Bullying is a serious problem among adolescents, with 28% of American students from grades 6-12 reporting having been bullied (source) and 70% of both students and school staff claiming that they have witnessed bullying activity in schools. 30% have admitted to actually doing the bullying.
On the one hand, most people can probably guess the negative effects that bullying can have on the person being bullied, as those can be quite obvious or, at least, logically-expected: loss of appetite, decreased self-esteem, sickness, depression, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, greater likelihood of drug abuse, and so on (“Bullying Hurts. You Can Help.”).
Surprisingly, perhaps, to most people, being a bully is correlated with negative health outcomes for the bullies themselves. According to the director of the Center for Substance Abuse at SAMHSA, Frances M. Harding, children who engage in bullying behavior are at a higher risk develop problematic habits and behaviors such as illegal drinking and smoking and other forms of drug abuse.
If you think your child is involved in bullying — from either side — or might be at risk for substance use problems, contact us today so they can get screened to determine the best program for them.