Bullying is a serious and under discussed issue globally. In Canada alone, 1 in 3 youth report to being cyber bullied, 25% have admitted to partaking in cyber bullying and that bystanders are present in 90% of bullying situations but do not step in to help even though it could help the situation in under 10 seconds.
On the last Wednesday of February, many Canadians partake in wearing a pink shirt in support of bullying awareness. This all began in Nova Scotia when a ninth grader was bullied for wearing a pink shirt on the first day of school. Two other students, David Shepherd and Travis Price decided to act by wearing pink shirts and distributing 50 more to other students with anti-bullying slogans on them.
In support of anti-bullying day, we would like to share our favourite initiatives and help services that have taken action to prevent issues and support those who need it.
PrevNet is a network of researchers and organizations that work together to stop bullying in Canada. Through education, research, training and policy change, PrevNet aims to stop the violence caused by bullying. Their website features an abundant amount of information for kids, students, parents and educators. It also lists bullying stats, facts, resources, blogs, projects and ways you can get involved in your community.
Our favourite thing about this website is the surplus of information and stats they provide to the public – all things that seem to be hard to find or rarely discussed throughout the community. They do a great job of looking at trends, pulling the numbers and finding solutions to the problems that so many children, youth and even adults are struggling with.
KIDS HELP PHONE
Kids Help Phone Kids Help Phone is Canada's ONLY 24 hour, bilingual, anonymous phone counselling, web counselling and referral service for children and youth. Founded in 1989, they have consistantly evolved their response solutions and have put their focus into staying relevant to youth by recognizing the complexity of the issues they face.
The thing we liked most about Kids Help Phone – beyond the fact of them being the only support service offering what they do, was the way they break down the different tiers on their website that people may be struggling with. This includes; Emotional Well-Being, My Body, Bullying and Abuse, Identity, Sex and Relationships, School and Work, and Friends and Family.
BELL LET'S TALK
Of course, this campaign has made the list, merely because of how it swept the nation and the incredible job Bell has done on starting a very difficult conversation. They kicked of this campaign in 2010 - millions of Canadians,
engaged in an open discussion about mental illness, offering new ideas and hope for those who struggle, with numbers growing every year. As a result, institutions and organizations in every region received new funding for access, care and research from Bell Let’s Talk and from governments and corporations that have joined the cause.
Bell's total donation to mental health programs now stands at over $93.4 million, and they are well on our way to donating at least $100 million through 2020. Our favourite thing about Bell Let's Talk is simple: they got people talking, whether they were sharing their stories or offering support to others. Secondly, they truly focus on changing the language and stigmas around mental health.
The "Challenge Day" teams goes into high schools and for the entire day where everyone meets up in a gym or assembly room. The groups will participate in fun interactive games – from there the group will then break off into smaller teams where they have an opportunity to open up about their personal lives and show a side that their classmates may not have seen. Through this day the objective is to create empathy and compassion within the students. They address common issues such as: cliques, gossip, rumors, negative judgements, harassment, isolation, stereotypes, racism, sexism, bullying, violence, etc.
To us, the best part about Challenge Day was how they allow students to feel comfortable enough to open up to one another and allow them to see a new side of themselves. This can be incredibly difficult, especially in a high school setting but it proved to be beneficial not only for self-healing but also to decrease bullying in the school.
Spread love, be kind and most of all, be there for someone who needs it most. Bullying happens at all ages, in various situations, if you see it happen put an end to it. You can make a difference!
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