Scotts Bluff County - Victim Assistance

May is National Children’s Mental Health Month

This year’s awareness/focus is bullying. Bullying is a very real concern and many children suffer from being bullied or are themselves bullies during their school years. It is NOT to be regarded as a “rite of passage” or “just being kids.” In fact, the U.S. Department of Education and many other public and private entities are very concerned about bullying as it impacts students of many ages and abilities. Bullying of children with disabilities may be considered “disability harassment” and schools have a mandated obligation to address this type of bullying. Bullies often target children who are considered by their peers as “different”. This could be a real or perceived difference around their appearance, the way they learn, or communicate or the manner in which they behave. Children with unique or special needs can “stand out” due to a physical, learning and/or social emotional difference; consequently, they may be at greater risk and be easier targets for bullying. Children who have learning disabilities or AD/HD are especially vulnerable to bullying problems. Youth with behavioral health challenges are at greater risk for being “egged-on” by peers looking for a reaction. Often the students most easily provoked are the ones identified by the bully as a “favorite target”. Children who are socially isolated (lack of friends and/or peer group) may be more likely to experience on-going bullying. These children do not have the personal skills tools to respond to a bully and/or they lack a friend or peer group to ‘buffer’ him/her from school bullies. Those who are emotionally vulnerable are not only favorite targets, but may also be the most impacted. In all instances, remember: bullying is caused by the bully, not by the targeted child.

***Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for kids (1-19) in Nebraska and about half of all suicides are tied to bullying! [NHHSS Vital Statistics 1999-2003]

For more information on National Children’s Health Month take a moment and watch the video clip below.

Do your part, take a stand, and Make Some Noise about Bullying and its Effects on Nebraska Youth!

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Updated: 2012.05.01 - 10:00 MDT