Victims of bullies and the bullies themselves have a higher risk of suicide
LOS ANGELES, CA - According to a report published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, bullying is a major risk factor for teen suicide- for both the victims and the bullies. The risk is even higher if the teen is both a victim and a bully.
Suicide is the number two cause of death among teens, right behind accidental deaths caused by car crashes and overdoses. According to the CDC, 17% of teens in high school said they had seriously considered suicide and 2.7% had made an attempt that resulted in an injury. These numbers are devastating.
The AAP report warned that suicidal thoughts and behaviors increase for those involved with bullying - and that includes cyberbullying. The lead author noted that it's particularly damaging, because there's no way to escape it. "It's in black and white, you can see it, everyone else can see it, it doesn't go away. You're not safe in your own house."
The report strongly urges pediatricians to screen for suicide risk factors like bullying, mood disorders, drug use, and physical and sexual abuse. Physicians who are properly trained can play a critical role in prevention.
Despite rampant cyberbullying, the report did find one positive effect of the Internet: If a teenager searches "suicide," they'll find support, helplines, and information on suicide prevention. When teens are at their absolute lowest, they need to know that there are people who care who about them. Suicide is never the answer.