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How Bullying Impacts Mental Health

May 1, 2012

AVON, Conn. – May 1, 2012 – Every day, nearly 160,000 students skip school because they fear being bullied. Two out of three students have witnessed a bullying incident, and a quarter of students have been bullied themselves. The ubiquity of mobile texting and social media has allowed bullying to expand beyond the playground; more than half of youth admit to saying something mean or hurtful online. These bullying incidents all can lead to significant mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse and, in the most tragic cases, suicide.

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.

“Bullying cannot be tolerated anywhere, whether on the playground or at the office, nor should it be taken lightly when it occurs,” said René Lerer, chairman and CEO of Magellan Health Services. “In our work with behavioral health specialists and youth everyday, we see the harmful impact bullying can have, yet it is 100 percent preventable. The ‘cure’ to bullying is establishing an expectation of respect and understanding in our own environment, and we’re hopeful that our work on Take Mental Health To Heart with The Jed Foundation will demonstrate that we all have a responsibility to stop bullying in our respective communities.”

“Bullying is everyone’s problem. Our words and our actions – no matter how small – are powerful, and we need to work together in our communities to use those words and actions to show support, appreciation and respect, rather than to cause others harm,” said John MacPhee, executive director of The Jed Foundation. “Promoting mental and emotional wellness is an important part of The Jed Foundation’s mission, and we’re delighted to be partnering with Magellan to call attention to the devastating effects of bullying and how they can be prevented.”

“Planting the Seed” to Stop Bullying
On, 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.
“In an age where the Internet and social media are too often used to engage in destructive cyberbullying, we’re offering people an interactive way to use their social networks to combat bullying and support an important cause,” said Lerer.

To learn more about bullying and the Take Mental Health To Heart Campaign, visit

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

Magellan Health Services Media Contact:
Chris Pearsall,, (860) 507-1923

The Jed Foundation Media Contacts:
Brian Downey or Jason Solomon or, (212) 355-0400

About The Jed Foundation (JED)

JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. We’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. We’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. We’re encouraging community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health.

Learn more at Check out our programs including: JED Campus (, Set to Go (, ULifeline (, Half of Us (, Love is Louder (, and Seize the Awkward (

Connect with JED:  EmailTwitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | LinkedIn

Manuela McDonough
Director, Media Relations

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By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from The Jed Foundation (JED). View our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Contact Information
The World Health Organization defines “mental health” “as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” In using this definition, S2i recognizes that some mental health challenges reflect brain diseases that, like physical diseases, require appropriate stigma-free and patient-centered care and include both mental health and substance use disorders. Other mental health challenges stem from social conditions and marginalization and require different forms of interventions.