Bullying is when someone intentionally causes another person harm or injury. Bullying behaviors tend to be repetitive. If it seems as though bullying-related suicides are becoming more prevalent, that’s because they are.
Children who reported being bullied or were reportedly bullying others are at risk for developing suicidal tendencies. However, the relationship between suicide and bullying is a complex one. Researchers warn that it is not a good idea to purport the idea that the two are inevitably linked.
In a recent publication by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, researchers establish meaningful and direct ways that schools and other institutions can work to prevent these tragic occurrences.
In this article, we discuss bullying behaviors, how they impact suicidal people, and what we can do to try and prevent future bullying-related suicides. We also talk a bit about how our company, Eco Bear, can help families who are coping with the loss of a loved one to suicide.
There is a vast spectrum of bullying behaviors. For the most part, destructive behaviors are not viewed as bullying unless they are reoccurring. Bullying can take place anywhere. Your home, workplace, school, or community may be the setting for bullying.
An example of bullying behavior is when a child makes spoken threats or humiliating/derogatory remarks about another child. Another example of bullying behavior is when a coworker makes repeated unwanted or even violent contact with another coworker.
Both children and adults can be victims of bullying. Below, you’ll find some of the different types of bullying.
Physical bullying includes unwanted contact, acts of violence and manipulation, and destruction of personal property. You may be able to easily recognize some of the more blatant signs of physical bullying. However, it is the emotional toll of physical bullying that often does the most harm.
Most people think of verbal bullying as repeated and harsh unwanted verbal attacks. However, it can also be more subtle teasing, name, calling, or illicit remarks. This sort of bullying also encompasses racist, sexist, and homophobic expressions. Unfortunately, verbal bullying is one of the most prevalent forms of bullying.
Social bullying is more difficult to identify. Social bullying includes spreading rumors, intentional exclusion, and other actions that are intended indirectly or directly to harm someone. According to the statistics, females are more likely to become victims of social bullying. The U.S. Department of Education’s most recent survey of secondary school students suggested that 16% of students experienced at least one form of social bullying.
In a study in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, researchers split social bullying into two clearly defined subtypes: social exclusion and spreading rumors.
Cyberbullying is the repeated harassment or mistreatment of an individual through online and electronic avenues. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, approximately 37% of students have reported being the victims of cyberbullying during their lifetimes. In one study, 15% of students also admitted to being the perpetrators of cyberbullying.
Suicide and Bullying
Suicide and bullying are closely linked. Suicidal thoughts and planning are often sparked by feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Feelings such as these are often brought on my complicated relations and made worse by mental health issues and other environmental stressors. While bullying may be a spark that ignites suicidal thoughts, it is usually not the only one.
Sadly, children and adolescents are some of the most prevalent victims of bullying and suicide. LBGTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) children and children with intellectual and physical disabilities are even more at risk for bullying and suicide.
Even more shocking still is the fact that the children with the highest potential for suicidal tendencies are those that are both victims of suicide and bullies.
Evidence-Based Prevention Techniques
According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, over 45,000 people take their own lives each year. Between the years of 1999 and 2014, the nation’s suicide rate increased by 24%.
An alarming number of male suicides are caused by self-inflicted firearm injuries. Meanwhile, the majority of female suicides are poisonings. These traumatic and often violent episodes can be overwhelming for the survivors of suicide victims.
The Relationship Between Suicide and Bullying
By focusing our attention on the relationship between bullying and suicide, we can make positive and meaningful changes in the way we live our lives. Here are a few ways that you can prevent bullying and suicide:
- Develop a no-tolerance bullying policy in schools and workplaces
- Identify those that are at-risk for bullying
- Ensure that both bullies and their victims get the help they need
- Address other risk factors for suicide, such as substance abuse, mental illnesses, and environmental issues
However, there is a catch. When we allow ourselves to recognize the connection between suicide and bullying, we risk making suicide seem like a normal or appropriate response to bullying.
It is easy to be sidetracked by news stories that focus on children who were bullied to the point of suicide. In most instances, there’s more to these stories than what meets the eyes. While people must focus their efforts on suicide prevention, it is also essential that they recognize the complexities of the issues at hand.
According to the CDC, the following circumstances may make a person more vulnerable to suicide:
- emotional distress
- exposure to violence
- family conflict
- relationship problems
- lack of connectedness to school/sense of supportive school environment
- alcohol and drug use
- physical disabilities/learning differences
- lack of access to resources/support
Coping With Bullying-Related Suicides
It can be incredibly challenging to face the death of a loved one who took their own life. To make matters worse, families are often faced with the unimaginable prospect of cleaning the scene where their loved one’s suicide took place.
According to the Harvard School of Medicine, the grieving process for suicide survivors is complex and traumatic. More often than not, suicides are violet and unexpected. Oftentimes, the survivors are asked to visit or be present at their loved one’s death scene. This can cause the onset of PTSD and other disorders.
On top of this, the stigmas associated with suicide can cause survivors to feel ashamed and isolated. Sometimes suicide survivors even have thoughts of taking their own lives.
Most people find it challenging to recognize their own emotional needs. You must take the time to bereave your loved one and get the help you need. One of the best ways that you can support yourself during difficult times is to seek outside assistance.
Eco Bear offers fast, safe, and discreet suicide cleanup services. Our professional crime scene remediation technicians take care of everything so that you can work through your grief.
Death scene cleanup (or biohazard remediation) is quite gruesome and riddled with hazards, including harmful blood-borne pathogens. At Eco Bear, we follow all of the latest OSHA, EPA, and CDC standards to ensure that you and your loved ones can focus your attention on healing.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to speak with a counselor.