BULLYING PREVENTION IN SCHOOLS – A QUICK READ/ EXERCISE.

By Coral Forde

Mental health is defined as a persons condition in regard to their psychological and emotional wellbeing. Mental health awareness day (October 10th) May have passed but that does not mean the fight is over until next year. It is believed that 4,500 people in the UK end their lives every year, and for every 1 ‘successful’ suicide, there are 100 ‘failed’ attempts.

In a survey called ‘Ditch the label’ 8,850 young people aged 12–20years old in schools and colleges were asked about their personal experiences with bullying, a common factor for young suicide. Results reported;

  • 50% had been bullied in the last year.
  • 19% reportes being bullied everyday for that year.
  • Boys are TWICE as likely to bully. (66%men to 31% female)
  • 44% who have been bullied experience depression with 33% of those having suicidal thoughts.

Now you have a small snippet of information, I would like you to just go along with this exercise in your mind. Imagine you have a plain piece of paper in front of you. Any size or colour it’s completely up to you. John Locke once said that when we are born, we are considered to be a blank slate and our experiences from both society and family help us develop. This piece of paper is you. I’m going to list some hurtful things you may hear everyday, or something you may have said to someone else. As you read them, imagine you are folding the paper in you head. Ready?

  • you are ugly.
  • you are fat.
  • Your skin is too dark.
  • Nobody likes you
  • Go kill yourself
  • You were born by mistake
  • Nobody will ever love you.

Ok so now your paper is folded. That small piece of paper is how someone feels when listening to their bullies. Small. Invisible. Unimportant…. So let’s try something a little different.. I’m now going to say some nice things. Each time you read one, unfold that piece of paper..

  • You matter
  • You will get through this
  • You are beautiful
  • You deserve to be loved
  • You can find happiness
  • You are powerful
  • You will survive
  • You have got this
  • You look nice today

Some of you will realise I said one more nice thing than I did nasty thing. My point is this. The paper should now be re-opened. It’s covered in creases. Saying one more nicer thing did not make the bad things go away, and when we bully others, their mind becomes a little more creased each time it happens. That person will always remember what was said. But it’s not too late to say sorry for our actions and help smooth that person out.

Please remember; sticks and stones may break my bones but words will stick forever.

SIDE NOTE: If anyone is experiencing any issues and would like help, please reach out and speak to charities who can help below.

Kidscape: 02077303300

Ditchthelabel.org – online anonymous support and social group.