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.”