Let’s Talk About Bullying!

Bullying can have a large impact on an individual whether it be an adult or a child. Unfortunately bullying is an “incredibly common and destructive process that happens throughout the lifespan,” according to Dr. Scott Langenecker, a clinical neuropsychologist at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute, “but it hurts the most when you’re young.” When a child experiences bullying this can create mental health problems that they will likely struggle with for some time, even into adulthood.

Signs to Watch For

According to StopBullying.gov signs a child is being bullied include:

  • 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.
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school.
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide.

According to StopBullying.gov signs a child is bullying others include:

  • Getting into physical or verbal fights.
  • Having friends who bully others.
  • Becoming increasingly aggressive.
  • Getting sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently.
  • Acquiring unexplained extra money or new belongings.
  • Blaming others for their problems.
  • Not accepting responsibility for their actions.
let's talk about it
Open communication is an important way to prevent or stop bullying from happening.

One major way that we as adults can help to stop kids from being bullied is through creating an open and safe place for them to talk. It is important to talk to our kids about how they are feeling and if they have experienced any bullying. We as adults can also teach our kids to be more empathetic and compassionate toward their peers and help them to feel more loved. “It’s important to realize that people who engage in bullying are often victims of bullying themselves,” Langenecker states. It is also imperative that we as adults talk to our kids about different things that they can do to help create an environment where bullying gets reported to an adult and that it is treated seriously each time.

If you have a child that is or has bullied another child, it is important that we talk to them about some different ways that they can change this behavior through discipline in place of punishment. Talk to your child about ways that they can have a healthy conversation with the other child and apologize for what they did and then work together on ways that they can work through the problems in a healthy way.

Students can communicate with counselors through the SafeUT app.

Students dealing with bullying or who know someone being bullied can reach out to get some immediate and confidential help through the SafeUT app. Through this app, they can communicate with a crisis counselor at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute, ask questions about what actions to take, and get needed support depending on their situation. They can also call 833-372-3388 to access a chat line.

Bully prevention month is October


SafeUT app

Stop Bullying

National Bullying Prevention Month (October) Resources

Written by Kellie Terrell, CMHC/Therapist

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