The deleterious impacts of bullying are enlightened in this article.
Reported cases of bullying have recently escalated in Japan with 414,378 reported cases in pre-college schools. A recent case in September reported that a Japanese middle schoolboy, who had been bullied by his classmates, jumped out of an apartment building in Saitama. What added to this devastating case was the school’s lack of involvement in trying to resolve the issue of bullying. Thus, not only does bullying alone affect children of all ages anytime and anywhere, lack of prevention and action can maximize the detrimental effects of bullying. Bullying can occur spontaneously both directly and indirectly, but either can plant fear and trauma in children who are victimized. Additionally, bullying poses severe effects on mental health to its victims with both short term and long term consequences.
The National Centre Against Bullying defines bullying as when “an individual or a group with more power intentionally causes harm to another person or group who are unable to fend off”. Bullies, who oppress others to seek power, use violence, threats, and intimidation or utilize platforms such as social media to cause this harm. In spite of the increase in physical and mental bullying as well as suicide, only 43% of US students who are bullied have reported to an adult at school about these incidents in 2016 (National Center for Educational Statistics). Victims can suffer physical injuries, emotional anxiety, self-harm, and in the most detrimental cases, death. Bullying can also be of hindrance to academic performance to bullied victims, as a UCLA study performed on students in eleven middle schools in the US found that students struggled academically with lower grades and poor performance. Bullying can be a matrix for numerous negative experiences, such as depression, trust issues, and suicidal behavior–between 2016 and 2017, the suicidal rate in Japan was the highest since 1986, with the majority of deaths being high schoolers, citing bullying as one of the accountable reasons. The egregious effects of bullying are not only limited to those directly involved but bystanders as well. Bystanders can similarly undergo depression and anxiety and have an increased chance of using drugs and other illicit substances, as the weight of what they witness can cause grave distress.
Long term effects can arise from repeated bullying experiences in ways that are detrimental to mental health. Compared to children who were not bullied, bullied children are found to be four times as likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder. Other mental disorders include PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), which can be developed as a result of continuous harm which typically amplifies preoccupation and hypervigilance. These effects can prolong into adulthood, by engendering depression and anxiety. Victims are at risk of undergoing financial problems, such as earning significantly less and facing trouble maintaining their job in comparison to peers.
Bullies are also likely to develop repercussions. They are at an increased risk of possessing antisocial personality disorder, which can result in the partaking of dangerous behavior such as theft and lack of empathy for others. Additionally, they can exhibit other mental health problems and can be oppressive due to low self-esteem, lack of parental supervision, or personal issues. With studies claiming that bullying can lead to lower outcomes in the sectors of education, health, work, and social interaction, the International Labor Organization recently implemented a policy to ban workplace bullying and harassment. Currently, Japan is making progress to enact a plan that will expectantly decrease the bullying rate by hiring counselors in every elementary and middle school.
Anyone from children starting from as young as elementary students to adults can fall victim to bullying, often causing chronic mental and emotional pain. By understanding the foundations of bullying and how various environments can provoke bullying, prevention can be more profound and easily done. Since bullying is a worldwide issue and many bullies/victims only receive help once they bully/are bullied, immediate action is necessary to promote mental health. It is important to note that merely addressing and condemning bullying is not sufficient, but action is needed for prevention. Ways schools and workforces can prevent bullying include educative programs to bring awareness to this issue and its effects on mental health, approachable services to help children and adults obtain emotional and mental support such as lifelines, and promoting social interaction.
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- Takizawa R. "Long-term effects of bullying." PubMed Central (PMC). BMJ Publishing Group, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2019. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4552909/>
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- Yoko Wakatsuki And James Griffiths, Cnn. "Japan's youth suicide rate highest in 30 years ." CNN. 5 Nov. 2018. Web. 10 Oct. 2019. <https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/05/health/japan-youth-suicide-intl/index.html>
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- mental health