FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2012
Start at the Source
Addressing the Mental Health Needs of a Bully
AVON, Conn. – May 23, 2012— Many are concerned about the impact that bullying has on the mental health of the victim, yet the act of bullying is often a sign that the bully also may have mental health issues. Bullying could potentially be the root of other issues or problems, such as anxiety, depression, anger, interpersonal sensitivity or substance abuse. Fifty-three percent of kids admit to having said something mean or hurtful to another person through cyberbullying alone, with more than a third having bullied more than once. It’s important to understand what motivates a bully in order to intervene and stop the problem as its source.
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and Magellan Health Services is calling attention to mental health and bullying for its second annual Take Mental Health To Heart campaign. Magellan has partnered with The Jed Foundation, the nation’s leading organization working to promote emotional health and prevent suicide among college students and young adults, to raise awareness about the mental health effects of bullying and encourage people to take responsibility for building a bully-free community. Throughout the month, Magellan and The Jed Foundation will share information about bullying from the perspective of the victim, the bully, parents and bystanders.
Why Do Kids Bully?
There is no one single cause of bullying. Many factors—family, peer, school and community—can place youth at risk for bullying. Some bullies may simply be copying what they see at home—kids who bully at school often have witnessed or been victims of intimidating behavior at home. Kids who have low self-esteem may bully others in order to gain social power. In some cases, a kid may have challenges responding to social cues and simply have little regard for the feelings of others..
Being a bully in childhood can have negative consequences later in life. For instance, bullies are:
• More likely to drop out of school than their peers
• At an increased risk of experiencing depression and psychological distress, especially if they own up to the seriousness of their bullying behavior
• More likely to develop an anxiety disorder and/or abuse substances
• At increased odds for future run-ins with law enforcement
• More likely to have problems with long-term relationships and may be abusive toward both their spouse and children
• Likely to have a harder time securing and maintaining employment than people who had not been bullies
• More likely to have children who become bullies themselves
“Bullying is often misunderstood and dismissed as ‘part of growing up,’ but in fact it’s a red flag that something is bothering the bully,” said Gary Henschen, M.D., chief medical officer for behavioral health at Magellan. “The best way to prevent a bully from harassing others is to identify why the bully is acting out and to address the root cause of the problem. Simply dismissing a bully’s behavior conveys the message that this behavior is an acceptable way to deal with their feelings, and it will continue. Likewise, demonizing and punishing a bully may have only temporary effects, failing to address the motivation behind the behavior.”
Help change the habits of a bully by:
• Giving the bully a positive way to express him or herself
• Redirecting the bully’s leadership potential from negative bullying behaviors to positive leadership skills and opportunities
• Removing negative role models of influences; social aggression or bullying may be a learned behavior rather than physical aggression
• Breaking up coalitions of peer groups that may be perpetuating the problem
“It’s not uncommon for bullies to have been bullied themselves at one point,” said Victor Schwartz, M.D., medical director for The Jed Foundation. “When a bullying incident occurs, it’s important that someone first show the bully that his or her behavior is unacceptable. Then they need to address what motivated the bully to act out in this way in the first place.”
“Planting the Seed” to Stop Bullying
On www.TakeMentalHealthToHeart.com, visitors can learn more about how bullying impacts the victim, bystanders and the bully; find helpful information for parents; take a screener for depression; and discover a variety of other links and resources. Visitors are also encouraged to leave a comment by “planting a virtual seed” on the website that they can share with friends and family to raise awareness about the impact of bullying. As individuals share their pledge to end bullying with others, their virtual seed will grow into a “tree” representing the expansive network of people they have reached with their message. For every virtual seed planted during the month of May, Magellan will donate $5 to The Jed Foundation, up to $25,000.
To learn more about bullying and the Take Mental Health To Heart Campaign, visit www.TakeMentalHealthToHeart.com.
About The Jed Foundation: The Jed Foundation (TJF) is the nation's leading organization working to promote emotional health and prevent suicide among college students. TJF materials and tools are available to all colleges and universities throughout the United States. Founded in 2000 by parents who lost a son to suicide while he was attending college, the organization has developed several programs, which include: ULifeline, an online resource that gives students access to campus-specific resources and allows them to take an anonymous emotional health screening; the Peabody Award-winning Half of Us campaign with mtvU, which uses online, on-air and on campus programming to decrease stigma around mental illness and encourage help-seeking; Love is Louder, a movement online and in communities to build connectedness and increase resiliency; and a portfolio of nationally-recognized tools, resources and training programs that help campuses effectively promote mental health and protect at-risk students. Learn more by visiting www.jedfoundation.org, www.ulifeline.org, www.halfofus.com, or www.loveislouder.com.
About Magellan Health Services: Headquartered in Avon, Conn., Magellan Health Services Inc. is a leading specialty health care management organization with expertise in managing behavioral health, radiology and specialty pharmaceuticals, as well as public sector pharmacy benefits programs. Magellan delivers innovative solutions to improve quality outcomes and optimize the cost of care for those we serve. As of March 31, 2012, Magellan’s customers include health plans, employers and government agencies, serving approximately 33.8 million members in our behavioral health business, 16.1 million members in our radiology benefits management segment, and 6.2 million members in our medical pharmacy management product. In addition, the specialty pharmaceutical segment served 41 health plans and several pharmaceutical manufacturers and state Medicaid programs. The company’s Medicaid Administration segment served 24 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.MagellanHealth.com.
About the JED foundation
The Jed Foundation is the nation's leading organization working to reduce emotional distress and prevent suicide among college students. Guided by leading experts, The Jed Foundation is changing the way students and parents think about mental health, paving the way for more young people to get the treatment they need, and helping colleges build safer, healthier campus communities. Founded in 2000, the organization's key programs include: ULifeline, an online resource where students from over 1,250 colleges can get campus-specific resources and take an anonymous screening; the Peabody Award-winning Half of Us campaign with mtvU which uses online, on-air and on campus elements to decrease prejudice around mental illness and encourage help-seeking; a portfolio of nationally recognized tools, resources and training programs that help campuses effectively promote mental health and protect at-risk students.
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