Anyone who has ever been bullied (which is probably everyone at some point in their life) will tell you that it can and often does have lasting consequences. But before now, those consequences have never really been studied. Well, the NYC Health Department is looking to change that.
According to the study, one in five high school kids admit to being bullied at some point. According to Dr. Roger Platt:
“So they’re not only a vulnerable group in terms of being bullied, but they’re vulnerable from a long term health perspective.”
The study also shows that bullied teenagers are more likely to smoke, drink and try drugs. Almost half show symptoms of depression, and an astounding 15 percent report suicide attempts. Bullied kids are also three times more likely to miss school due to feeling unsafe, and are two times as likely to bring a weapon to school.As one senior who was interviewed put it:
“After they get bullied, they might be insecure. They don’t feel safe and to feel safe they might have a weapon – a knife as security.”
The NYC Department of Education is also making strides when it comes to bullying. They recently launched an online resource center for bullying called “Respect For All.” One student, Rowan Morgan, believes that the only way to stop bullying is to spread awareness, which I think should be a given, to be honest:
“The only way to end this problem – bullying – in all the schools is we have people students and peers who teach classes and others how dangerous bullying is.”
I was bullied merciless as a little kid, though thankfully it had mostly subsided by high school. Still, there have been lasting effects. To this day, I have moments of feeling painfully shy, and I remember feeling distinctly unsafe when I would go to school. I can only imagine, in this age of social media, that the issue is much worse today than it was when I was a child. I hope there are more studies done like the one from the NY Department of Health. It might be long over due and not enough, but it’s absolutely a step in the right direction.