As you may have heard, October has been named “National Anti-Bullying Month.” As I was doing research for this post I found an observation regarding how sad it is that we need to have a national “anti-bullying” month, but that is where we are as a society today, unfortunately.
Bullying of any kind, whether it is offline or online, can do a lot to disintegrate a person’s feeling of value and worth. Anyone who is deemed “different” by a group of people can be bullied. Whether “different” means you are a different color, beyond the norm in height or weight, a different creed, or just more quiet than “normal,” you can be pointed to as different and therefore bullied.
Fortunately, we are not starting from square one in our efforts to put a stop to this problem. Several great organizations have sprung up to fight against these horrifying trends. I thought I would reference a few here in case you or someone you care about needs help.
The Kind Campaign
This is a documentary, a movement, and a school program that focuses primarily on bullying amongst girls. The creators of The Kind Campaign, Lauren Parsekian and Molly Thompson, both feel that bullying between girls is a problem that many simply take for granted as being a part of life, but it can be extremely ruthless. There is a powerful forum area on the site where people are sharing stories of either being bullied or bullying others. The main emphasis of the campaign, apart from putting an end to bullying, is that if you have been a victim of bullying, you are not alone.
This organization was brought to my attention by a teacher-friend of mine. The group works to bring mental issues (and understanding of those issues) to the forefront. Their About section notes, “Through campus-wide events and national programs, Active Minds aims to remove the stigma that surrounds mental health issues, and create a comfortable environment for an open conversation about mental health issues on campuses nationwide.” The website also makes available a chat line in case you are in crisis.
This site is a little bit different in that instead of targeting its messages to victims of bullying, it strives to reach educators who want to teach about tolerance. Founded in 1991 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the organization defines itself as being “dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children.”
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is primarily a suicide-prevention organization that caters to young people who are in the LGBTQ community. Founded back in 1998, the Trevor Project is another organization that offers live chat and other intervention services.
The ImAlive Suicide Prevention Chat Service
I had the honor of helping to fundraise for this organization in September. The ImAlive Suicide Prevention Chat Service will be open 24/7 through August of 2014 due to the efforts spearheaded by Geoff Livingston among others. The primary message of this organization is very simple. Know that you are not alone.
There are many other tremendous organizations out there. Some cater to specific groups while others are accessible and available to everyone and anyone. I would be delighted if you added other organizations to this list so it can become a resource for people in need.
October is National Anti-Bullying month but truly, every month we should focus on this problem. We should focus on the people who are victimized, we should focus on those who are doing the bullying, and we should focus on how to reduce the problem of bullying so that we no longer need an “awareness” month to mark the problem.