- Over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year.
- 1 in 4 teachers see nothing wrong with bullying and will only intervene 4 percent of the time.
- Approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying.
- 1 in 7 students in grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying.
- 56 percent of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.
- Over two-thirds of students believe that schools respond poorly to bullying, with a high percentage of students believing that adult help is infrequent and ineffective.
- 71 percent of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.
- 90 percent of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying.
- 1 out 10 students drop out of school because of repeated bullying.
- Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75 percent of school-shooting incidents.
- Physical bullying increases in elementary school, peaks in middle school and declines in high school. Verbal abuse, on the other hand, remains constant.
- A 2009 survey found that 9 out of 10 LGBT youth reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.
12 Facts About Bullying
Suicide: Warning Signs and Risk Factors
Sometimes a suicidal person will give no signs that they plan to commit suicide, but there are some signs that you should know about.
- Thinking or talking suicide through, threatening to hurt oneself or thinking of ways to do so
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Substance abuse or increased substance use
- Purposelessness, no sense of a reason for living
- Expression of a lack of future orientation (i.e. “It won’t matter soon anyway”)
- Anxiety, depression
- A sense of feeling trapped
- Giving away valued possessions
- Recklessness, engaging in risky activity without thinking
- Dramatic changes in mood
- For someone who has been very depressed, when that depression begins to lift, the person may actually be at increased risk of suicide because the person will have the psychological energy to follow through on suicidal thoughts
- Alcohol abuse and dependence
- Eating disorders
- Personality disorders
- Drug abuse and dependence
- Major depression
- Bipolar depression
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Suicide and Mental Health Crisis Hotlines
Mental Health Crisis
LGBTQ Crisis and Suicide Helpline
Terms About Eating Disorders
An eating disorder characterized by a loss 15% or more of original body weight, usually referred to as anorexia. It stems from contributing genetic factors, depression, low self-esteem, and distorted body image.
Characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting to compensate for the effects of binge eating. Although most people with this disorder can maintain a normal weight, it exerts a tremendous strain on virtually every major system and organ in the human body.
Binge Eating Disorder
Differs from bulimia because its sufferers do not purge their bodies of excess food after bingeing. Most people with this disorder are obese and have a history of weight fluctuation. Recent research shows that binge eating disorder occurs in about 30% of people participating in medically supervised weight control programs.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
A measure of body fat based on height and weight. It provides a reliable indicator of healthiness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.
BMI ranges for children and teens are defined so that they take into account normal differences in body fat between boys and girls and differences in body fat at various ages.
Compulsive Exercise Disorder
When exercise interferes with a person’s daily functioning, isolates that person, and/or becomes the all-consuming focus of one’s thoughts. Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Forcing exercise even if when feeling ill or injured.
- Becoming anxious, depressed, combative, lethargic, or angry if a regiment is missed.
- Calculating how much to exercise based on calories and fat consumed.
- Preferring exercise over social interaction or being with friends.
- Having trouble remaining idle because of the lack of calorie burning.
- Focusing on weight gain if a day is skipped in a regiment.
Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)
A general classification for a person who does not fit specifically into one of the medical diagnostic categories. One common element to all eating disorders is low self-esteem. Those with EDNOS characteristics may constantly shift between different eating disorders. This shifting or switching can complicate providing a specific professional medical diagnosis for the patient.
Known as the health food disorder due to the Orthorexic’s preoccupation with health food. It causes the sufferer to become more and more obsessed with the types of foods they are consuming, resulting in constriction placed on their eating habits. Most people suffering from Orthorexia never succumb to death, yet suffer social isolation and depression.
Overweight and obesity are both labels for ranges of weight that are larger than what is considered healthy for a given height according to the BMI. The terms also identify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems.
- An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
- An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.
Are You Depressed? How Do You Know?
Everyone has a bad day once in a while. But have you been feeling down for weeks or even months? If there’s a sadness, edginess, or even irritability that you can’t seem to shake, you might be experiencing depression. And may need to get some help.
Wait, what’s depression anyway?
Depression is a psychological condition that affects your feelings, behaviors, and thoughts.
- Feel sad or “empty” for weeks on end.
- Find it harder to enjoy things you used to.
- Find that you lose your temper more easily.
- Feel tired or have less energy, or be restless and edgy.
- Eat more or less than you did before you started feeling depressed.
- Have thoughts about not wanting to live or about hurting yourself, or you may have tried to hurt yourself.
You’re not alone. In fact, depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States. Statistics show that teen depression is a common problem:
- About 20% of teens will experience teen depression before they reach adulthood.
- Between 10 to 15% of teenagers have some symptoms of teen depression at any one time.
- As many as 8.3% of teens suffer from depression for at least a year at a time, compared to about 5.3% of the general population.
- Most teens with depression will suffer from more than one episode. 20 to 40% will have more than one episode within two years, and 70% will have more than one episode before adulthood. Episodes of teen depression generally last about 8 months.
- Teen depression can affect a teen regardless of gender, social background, income level, race, or school or other achievements.
- Teenage girls report suffering from depression more often than teenage boys.
- Teenage boys are less likely to seek help or recognize that they suffer from depression.
What causes depression?
No one knows for sure what causes depression. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s not your fault if you become depressed. Most likely, depression is caused by a combination of things, some of which have to do with the chemicals in your brain and some that have to do with what’s happening in your life.
- If there’s a history of depression in your family, you may share genes that make you more likely to get depressed.
- A major loss or conflict in your family may cause you to feel depressed.
- If you’re being abused or put down constantly either at home or at school, this too may lead to feelings of depression.
- If you feel isolated, like you’re different from everyone and no one understands you, this too may lead to depression.
So, you fit the bill. You’ve had feelings of depression for more than two weeks now and are experiencing a number of the symptoms. What next? If you think you are depressed, it may help you to tell a friend, but it is also important to talk with a trusted parent or an adult who can give you objective advice.
If you don’t feel comfortable telling an adult that you are depressed on your own, ask a friend to be with you when you talk with someone, or help you find someone trustworthy.
Keep in mind that there are no laboratory tests that can be done to prove that you are depressed, but professionals (doctors and counselors) are trained to understand depression and will be able to ask the right questions to help decide if you are going through a period of sadness or whether you have depression.
There are many different kinds of treatment for depression, including counseling, medication and/or even in-patient treatment at a center. You and your doctor can decide your options.
What if I am thinking about hurting myself?
It’s important to realize how serious it is to have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself. When someone is very depressed, he/she is often not able to think clearly and may make hasty decisions.
You must remember that hurting yourself is never the right option, and that there are people who can help you. Talk with a parent, an adult you trust, or someone else who can get you help RIGHT AWAY. If you can’t get someone to help you or the adult is unsure what to do, call your local emergency room or 911.
There are free, anonymous screening sites all over the U.S. To find one, visit Mentalhealthscreening.org.
And if still don’t want to talk to anyone just yet but think you might be suffering from depression, you can always take an online depression screening. But remember, if you find that you are clinically depressed, get help. You’ll be happy you did.
11 Facts About Teens And Self-Esteem
- Low self-esteem is a thinking disorder in which an individual views him/herself as inadequate, unworthy, unlovable, and/or incompetent. Once formed, this negative view of self permeates every thought, producing faulty assumptions and ongoing self-defeating behavior.
- Among high school students, 44 percent of girls and 15 percent of guys are attempting to lose weight.
- Over 70 percent of girls age 15 to 17 avoid normal daily activities, such as attending school, when they feel bad about their looks.
- More than 40 percent of boys in middle school and high school regularly exercise with the goal of increasing muscle mass.
- 75 percent of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating. This compares to 25 percent of girls with high self-esteem.
- About 20 percent of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood.
- Teen girls that have a negative view of themselves are four times more likely to take part in activities with boys that they’ve ended up regretting later.
- The top wish among all teen girls is for their parents to communicate better with them. This includes frequent and more open conversations.
- 38 percent of boys in middle school and high school reported using protein supplements and nearly 6 percent admitted to experimenting with steroids.
- 7 in 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.
- A girl’s self-esteem is more strongly related to how she views her own body shape and body weight, than how much she actually weighs.
Background on Cutting
Cutting can plague both men and women. Rates are particularly high among teen girls. One in every 200 girls between 13 and 19 years old, or one-half of one percent, cut themselves regularly.
People who cut usually start cutting in their young teens. Some continue to cut into adulthood. About one percent of the total U.S. population, or between 2 and 3 million people, exhibits some type of self-abusive behavior. That number includes those with eating disorders like anorexia, as well as those who self injure.
Often, teens that self-harm have an eating disorder. They may also have a history of abuse and suffer from depression or bipolar disorder. Many, however, are just regular kids with no other diagnosable problems.
Why do people cut?
Initially, cutting is not premeditated. It’s an impulse that they can’t control. Some people cut in order to cope with emotional issues, feelings of stress and pressure, or upsetting relationship problems. For others, cutting seems like a way of feeling powerful and easing the pain in their lives. Cutting might seem like the only way to find relief or express personal pain over relationships or rejection, but it is not.
The dangers of cutting
Cutters usually don’t usually intend to hurt themselves permanently. When they start, they also don’t intend to continue. Both of those things can happen when they lose control of their behavior. Cutting can become compulsive behavior. The more a person does it, the more he or she feels the need to do it.
Sometimes cutters cut too deep, requiring stitches or hospitalization. Cuts can become infected if they are made with a dirty instrument.
How to help
You can’t force a friend or loved one to stop. It doesn’t help to get mad at a friend who cuts or reject that person. Recovery is entirely possible, but this person needs professional help. If you’re truly concerned, suggest resources that your friend can utilize.
11 Facts About Cyber Bullying
“Cyber bullying” is defined as a young person tormenting, threatening, harassing, or embarrassing another young person using the Internet or other technologies, like cell phones.
The psychological and emotional outcomes of cyber bullying are similar to those of real-life bullying. The difference is, real-life bullying often ends when school ends. For cyber bullying, there is no escape. And, it’s getting worse. Read on to get the facts.
- Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. 1 in 4 has had it happen more than once.
- 70% of students report seeing frequent bullying online.
- Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying.
- 68% of teens agree that cyber bullying is a serious problem.
- 81% of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person.
- 90% of teens who have seen social-media bullying say they have ignored it. 84% have seen others tell cyber bullies to stop.
- Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse.
- Girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying.
- About 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than 4 out 10 say it has happened more than once.
- About 75% have visited a website bashing another student.
- Bullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide.
Interview With a Suicide Expert
How big a problem is suicide among young people?
Suicide is a serious issue no matter what age group is being discussed, because, for the most part, it is a preventable death. Among young people (ages 15-24) specifically, there were 4,189 suicide deaths reported during 2006, the most recent year for which we have national statistics. In my mind, that’s 4,189 more than there should be, and that’s why I do the work I do. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for this age group.
Why do you feel so passionate about this cause?
It started because of personal experience. When I was 17 and a senior in high school, my father died by suicide. My family didn’t know what the warning signs were, and we didn’t know how to cope with such a traumatic, violent and unexpected death of someone we loved dearly. He was the center of my world. Now, 36 years after his death, I find that most people still don’t know the warning signs and still don’t think suicide could happen to someone they know and love. Until we all learn that suicide can be prevented, and that we all have a part to play in saving a life from suicide, then change will continue to come slowly.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Easily, it’s doing what I can every day – in the company of thousands more like me – to reduce the number of suicide deaths only to see change coming so slowly. I can illustrate it this way: there are twice as many deaths by suicide in the United States as deaths from HIV/AIDS, and nearly twice as many suicides as homicides. Now, consider how much money is spent on research and prevention of HIV/AIDS and murder. Only an equal investment of money, time and determination will advance the cause of suicide prevention as well.
What would you say to a person considering suicide?
First, I would listen closely to everything that young person had to say, and then I would tell him or her that when things feel overwhelming or hopeless, we often can’t see the light in the midst of darkness, but that with help that is available he or she is most likely to weather the crisis.
What should someone do if their friend is thinking about suicide?
First, stay with the friend by whatever connection there is – telephone, texting, email, etc. The best thing is to be physically with the friend or to find someone who can be there.
Then, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273- TALK (8255) where anyone can speak with a trained telephone counselor who is available 24/7. Get a trusted adult involved and never agree to be the only one who can help or to keep a secret about a friend’s thoughts of suicide.
What can the Do Something generation do to address mental health issues?
They can begin to understand it in the same way they understand and view other illnesses. The brain is just like any other organ of the body, and it can malfunction or not be adequate to keep a person healthy. The mind is the psychological aspect of the brain, and it can malfunction as well. The support of family and friends is also important for anyone trying to cope with a mental illness.
How can we get issues like suicide out into the open?
Seems like you’re doing it now! Educate yourself and educate others, know the warning signs, insist on having opportunities to learn about preventing suicide, stop the myths and speak the truth … depression, bipolar disease and other mental illnesses that can lead to suicide are diagnosable and treatable, and we all can be part of the solution.
How can students get their schools to really talk about suicide prevention?
Express your concern and ask for it. Start with a trusted teacher or counselor to create opportunities to discuss suicide as openly as cancer, diabetes, and the like.
How can schools be more responsive to kids in crisis?
Most, if not all, schools have a crisis management plan. Prevention of suicide and similar crises really requires having a pro-active attitude about the total health of everyone in the school to reduce the likelihood of a crisis taking place. Take advantage of our School Suicide Prevention Accreditation program. Every school can have an accredited person to design and manage a school-based suicide prevention program.
What do you think is the most misunderstood thing about people suffering from suicide-related thoughts or about those who have died by suicide?
People whose lives are impacted by thoughts of suicide, and those who attempt or die by suicide, are not “selfish” or “cowards”. They are suffering from unimaginable pain (physical and/or emotional), have no hope of things getting better, and may believe that no one cares if they live or die. They can get better with adequate care and support – including therapy and sometimes medication – and they need understanding.
Do you think we’ll be able to solve this problem?
When I was young, the word ‘cancer’ was taboo. It wasn’t talked about, and if the subject came up, ‘cancer’ was said in hushed tones. We didn’t even know about HIV/AIDS, and I remember very well the stigma around the disease, and reading all of the misinformation that preceded today’s concerted effort to prevent and treat it.
So, I challenge today’s young people to eradicate suicide. Go ahead, make my profession obsolete!
11 Facts About Depression
- Population studies show that at any point in time 10 to 15 percent of children and adolescents have some symptoms of depression.
- Once a young person has experienced a major depression, he or she is at risk of developing another depression within the next 5 years. This young person is also at risk for other mental health problems.
- Between 20% and 40% of adolescents with major depression develop bipolar disorder within five years after depression onset.
- Two-thirds of people suffering from depression do not seek necessary treatment.
- 80% of all people with clinical depression who have received treatment significantly improve their lives.
- Women experience depression about twice as often as men.
- By the year 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression will be the number two cause of “lost years of healthy life” worldwide.
- Major Depression is 1.5-3.0 times more common among first-degree biological relatives of those with the disorder than among the general population.
- 15% of depressed people will commit suicide.
- Antidepressants work for 35 to 45% of the depressed population, while more recent figures suggest as low as 30%.
- 80% of people who see physicians are depressed.
11 More Facts about Bullying
- In our society, bullying is the most common form of violence.
- American schools hold 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims.
- One in seven students from grades K-12 are either bullies or victims of bullying.
- Nearly one-fourth of students from elementary through high school have reported that they have been harassed or bullied at school because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
- Eighty-six percent of LGBT students said that they have experienced harassment in school.
- An estimated 160,000 children miss school every day because they fear attack or intimidation by bullies.
- Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75 percent of school-shooting incidents.
- Fifty-four percent of students reported that witnessing physical abuse at home can lead to school violence.
- Each month, 282,000 students report being attacked in high schools throughout the nation.
- Victims of bullying are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than students who are not bullied.
- More than two-thirds of students believe that schools respond poorly to bullying, and that adult help is infrequent and ineffective.