ST. LOUIS, Oct. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) and its subsidiary, Cenpatico, have teamed up with Children's National Health System to put a stop to bullying through education and empowerment. The Anti-bullying Campaign, "No Bullying Zone," will educate students, teachers and parents across the country on how to prevent, identify and appropriately intervene with bullying in school-aged children. The initiative kicked off this month during National Anti-bullying Awareness Month, and the collaboration on these efforts will run for three years. Bullying has become a significant problem in the United States:
Every seven minutes a child is bullied.
Over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying.
1 out of 10 students drop out of school because of repeated bullying.
Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75 percent of school-shooting incidents.
Despite these numbers, few parents, teachers and other authorities are informed or intervene to stop bullying. As a result, children suffer from negative side effects, such as significant drops in grades, increased anxiety, loss of friends and poor social life. "As a leading national healthcare company, Centene believes in treating the whole person, not just the physical body," said Mary Mason, M.D., Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer for Centene. "We are excited about the potential from this partnership with Children's National Health System. The social issue of bullying impacts both physical and mental health, which has detrimental and long-term effects on children and their communities." "Bullying is a pervasive behavior among children. If we can empower them through this much-needed campaign, we can help kids better understand what bullying is and what its consequences are," said Joseph L. Wright, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Vice President of Community Affairs and the Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children's National Health System. "We are grateful to Centene and Cenpatico for partnering with us on this important initiative." Dr. Wright is an expert in understanding the effects of bullying on children and how it can impact all aspects of their health and well-being. In addition to his position at the Children's National Health System, Dr. Wright is also a Professor at the George Washington University Schools of Medicine and Public Health and recipient of the 2011 Fellows Achievement Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics for his bullying awareness and youth violence prevention efforts. "No Bullying Zone" Campaign Centene, Cenpatico and Dr. Wright worked together with award-winning author Michelle Bain to write a children's book on bullying. The 16-page book tells the story of the character, Splotch the Madpole, being a bully to his classmates, but when he is bullied, he learns the importance of being kind to others. Through Centene's established Adopt-a-School program, representatives from its local health plans will work with area schools to administer a pre-test about bullying, conduct the book reading with Bain, and issue a post-test about the subject. Students will also receive a copy of the book and a parents' guide on how to deal with bullying. Teachers will receive a lesson plan about the topic.