Bullying and awareness of the problem has risen to prominence in recent years among k-12 students and parents, teachers, and policy makers in the U.S.
According to the CDC, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, which contributes to about 4,400 deaths yearly.
For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 attempts. Nearly 7 percent of high school students have attempted suicide, whereas nearly 15 percent have seriously considered it .
According to studies conducted by Yale University, bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims.
Bullying has become a full-blown epidemic among young people in America, but to effectively combat the situation, one must be fully aware of the signs of bullying and preventative techniques.
What is Bullying?
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.
Basically, bullying occurs when one school kid sees another as inferior and then picks on the kid because there’s no fear of retribution.
What are some Signs of Bullying?
Some signs of bullying can include:
- Unexplainable injuries
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
- Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide. 
Signs that a kid is a bully may consist of:
- Get into physical or verbal fights
- Have friends who bully others
- Are increasingly aggressive
- Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
- Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
- Blame others for their problems
- Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
- Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity.
How does one combat bullying?
According to stopbullying.gov, the four best practices to combat bullying are:
- Stop bullying on the spot
- Find out what happened
- Support the kids involved
- Be more than a bystander.
School faculty, parents, and members of the community can band together to help kids prevent bullying by discussing the issues, helping to create a safer school environment, and by creating a community-wide bullying prevention strategy.
Bullying is a multidimensional problem. It affects all those involved with the parties, whether directly or indirectly, from the classmates, to the parents and teachers, to the community as a whole.
Only by involving all those affected by bullying to begin the discourse to find common ground can a solution be achieved.
For sources and in-depth information on bullying prevention, click here.
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