Expert: Bullying a Mental Health Problem

LINCOLN, Neb., April 8 (UPI) — The public needs to be aware of the link between mental health issues and bullying, a U.S. expert says.

Susan Swearer, a licensed psychologist in the Child and Adolescent Therapy Clinic at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, reports she and colleagues have seen an increase in referrals for bullying-related behaviors.

Swearer says depression and anxiety often go hand-in-hand whether students are bullies, victims, bystanders or bully-victims — those who are bullied and also bully others.

“I always assess for depression and anxiety when I’m working with youth who are involved in bullying,” Swearer says in a statement released by the American Psychological Association. “Bullying is a mental health problem.”

Swearer says parents and teachers must intervene when they see bullying take place. They need to tell those doing the bullying to stop, Swearer says.

“Parents and teachers need to document what they saw and keep records of the bullying behaviors. Victims need to feel that they have a support network of kids and adults,” Swearer says.

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