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Anxiety, Depression, and Suicidal Thought:

A national youth pandemic

Room 4

Bullying is virtually ubiquitous on campuses across our nation. While it is well known that school bullying is associated with depression and suicidality among adolescents, the risk has been compounded by the digital age. Social media has become the new school yard for bullies. With social media, the malicious bullying follows our children home and pervades their lives…dusk to dawn.  Whereas just a decade ago, children who were bullied at school could escape to the safety of their home, now children leave school and the bullying — cyberbullying — only gets worse. 67% of teenagers report that they have witnessed cruel behavior online!

Research indicates 1 in 4 kids in the United States are bullied on a regular basis. These victims often live in a chronic state of anxiety and depression. Each day 160,000 refuse to go to school because they dread the physical and verbal aggression. Headaches and stomach pains, reduced appetite, shame, anxiety, irritability, aggression and depression are also frequent effects. Teenage depression is at an all-time high affecting millions of teenagers each year. Studies also demonstrate that those who are bullied have a higher probability of considering or performing suicide than those who are not. In fact, we now have a new term for this called “Bullycide” - suicide that is caused as a result of bullying and depression. Suicide, in general, is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-34.

The causes of bullying are numerous, and likewise, the solutions must be multiple. Parents play a key role in preventing and responding to bullying. However, only 10% are even aware their teens are targets of bullies. Open communication and talks about bullying are vitally important. Involvement at their children’s school and with their friends’ families helps, too. In fact, bullies target loners, so just having a group of friends or involvement in a club is a shield against bullying.  Once depression is identified, the treatment ultimately involves close collaboration with the parents, the school, the physician and sometimes the whole community.

Conversation Starters

Did you know that suicide is one of the leading causes of death in people aged 14 - 24?

In this room, there are three enclosures encased in mirrored tint. When you enter inside them you are suddenly surrounded by a reflection of only yourself. You cannot see out. Yet everyone else on the outside of the enclosure can see you inside. It’s very isolating and gives the user a taste of self-conscious, anxiety. Many victims of bullying feel this way: Trapped. Alone. Seen but ignored. Helpless.

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