By Renee Ruffin-Price
For AL DIA TODAY
I was reading articles online when I came across one that tugged at my heart. It was about a teen suicide that had occurred just weeks ago in February; it described the physical attack at school and the follow-up cyberbullying that were contributing factors. Experts have sounded the alarm about the mental health crisis our teens/adolescents are currently experiencing. Is there anything that you, your children, or grandchildren can do? YES! First, go to this website: https://www.pacer.org/BULLYING/ When you click the Information section, there is a website for kids and one for teens and a section on how to support children with disabilities. There is an extensive Parent section. Students across the nation who are involved in their school’s Upstanders Clubs have learned how to shift from being bystanders who witness bullying/cyberbullying but won’t or don’t know how to support the target. Now, these peer advocates talk with the targeted students when they see them, so others know that they have friends. They are taught to help the target move away from an unsafe situation or they’ll help the student document the details of the bullying, including who were the uninvolved witnesses, that can be used by parents/school officials/law enforcement. They advise the target to save/print all cyberbullying comments so it can be used as evidence.
If You Know Someone is in Crisis, Encourage Them to Call or Text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 (para ayuda en español, llame al 988) or the Crisis Text Line number (741741). The free Lifeline provides 24-hour, confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Review the suicide warning signs listed on this website: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention
Article submitted on March 27, 2023, to Al Dia Today Newspaper for the April issue, by Renee’ Ruffin-Price, Community Advocate for Children