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Letter to the editor: Be aware of bullying to help prevent it
Letter to the Editor generic

Editor:

October, National Bullying Prevention Month, aims to prevent bullying by promoting kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. At Coastal Harbor Health System, a local inpatient behavioral health provider, we fully support these efforts to mitigate the negative, long term impacts bullying can have on our mental health. 

Bullying occurs when an individual, or group of individuals, tries to harm, intimidate, or coerce someone else when there is a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying happens in schools, workplaces, friend groups, and online. Cyberbullying occurs online or through digital devices. It includes text messages, social media apps, gaming chats and platforms, or pretty much anywhere people view and share content. With increased technology comes increasing access for bullies. The most recent Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows an estimated 15.7% of high school students were electronically bullied in the 12 months prior to the survey.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, L1ght (an organization that tracks online harassment) reported a 70% increase in cyberbullying due to the number of people significantly more connected via digital devices for school and work.

Bullying can cause feelings of rejection, exclusion, isolation, and low self-esteem. Depression or anxiety can result. It can further develop into Acute Stress Disorder or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for some.

Research indicates being a victim of bullying can lead to longer term issues like interpersonal violence, substance use, sexual violence, and poor social functioning. When a young person is bullied, it can lead to problems with trust in others, poor self-esteem, and anger. It can be hard to develop relationships with others as you mature when you didn’t have them as a child.

When we’re repeatedly criticized about who we are or what we’re doing, we create a poor self-image and expect others to see us through the same lens. It is our hope that awareness about bullying, and its effects, will decrease the instances of bullying and the impacts it can have on everyone in our community.

Sneha Patel, LPC, CPCS COO Coastal Harbor Treatment Center Coastal Harbor Health System

The Coastal Courier welcomes letters to the editor. Letters cannot be libelous, and should be brief, typically 250 words or less. Letters may be edited for length, accuracy and clarity. No unsigned letters will be printed. Contact information, including the writer’s address and telephone number must be submitted with letters. We make no guarantee your letter will be published, though we will make every effort to print those meeting our guidelines. Send letters to editor@coastalcourier.com.

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