PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center is an organization founded in 2006 to provide resources for students, parents, educators and others about the seriousness of bullying and the impact it has on many aspects of student and family life. To educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention, PACER identified October as National Bullying Prevention Month. Today there are many available resources for anyone who interacts with preschool and school-aged children, especially kids who may be victims of bullying. In 2015, bullying presents in many different settings with many different faces. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began official documentation of bullying for science and research in 2014. The National Center for Educational Statistics indicates that one out of every four children reports being bullied at least once during their school age years. Cyber bullying, another contemporary concern, is not as prevalent but can still be very harmful. Bullying, most widespread during middle school years, can be done not only one-on one, but also by groups of children. There are known risk factors for those who bully as well as those who are victims of bullying, but the bottom line is that many children from preschool age through middle school are at risk.
Ultimately, children who are bullied experience many effects including physical complaints, mental health disorders and poor school performance. Bullies, those who inflict physical or emotional pain on others, are at risk for substance abuse, academic issues or violence as an adult. Unfortunately, many children who are bullied are fearful of reporting the problem, and even though reports indicate that incidents of bullying are on the decline, it continues to threaten the well-being of our nation’s children. In your position as a pediatric advanced practice provider, YOU can help increase awareness of this ongoing issue.
Advanced practice pediatric nurses have the opportunity to affect the continuing numbers of bullied children positively by discussing the problem in any arena where health care takes place. Especially this month, ask the questions: “Do you know what bullying is?” and “Are you being bullied?” There are many resources available for children, parents, teachers and caregivers. Check out the Cartoon Network’s Stop Bullying, Speak Up website where President Obama and the Teen Titans invite kids to “make a friend,” to prevent bullying before it happens: www.cartoonnetwork.com/stop-bullying/index.html
Other great resources include the CDC website: www.stopbullying.gov, and the PACER organization: www.pacer.org/bullying.
You can show your support this month by wearing ORANGE on October 21, noted as Unity day in support of those who have been bullied!
If you want to increase your mental health knowledge, learn about the newest health care concerns and management therapies, OR you would love to engage with your fellow pediatric peers to discuss the impact we make on children's health and problems like bullying, make sure to put March 16 - 19, 2016 on your calendar. The NAPNAP National Conference will take place that week in Atlanta at the Hyatt Regency Hotel! In addition to review courses, and serious learning opportunities in all areas of pediatric care, the conference promises to be fun and exciting! Registration for the conference opens later this month. I am definitely planning to be there – make sure that you are too!