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Depression and suicidal behavior

Children that have been bullied often suffer from impaired psychological health or customization. They may have trouble forming friendships and tend to isolate themselves.

Children who are or have been bullied suffer thus both emotionally and socially, and this may harm their development. When a childs self-image is weakened and the child is lonely, negative thoughts and ponderings take over. The child is then in a negative depression circle, which can be difficult to reverse without professional assistance.

For the child, school will often feel like an unsafe place to be and it will try to avoid or skip school. Long-term problems will often appear in adolescence, when young people are struggling with difficult thoughts and are unable to interact with peers. Some children and young people resort to self-mutilation and, in worst case, attempt suicide.

An English study found that children who were bullied at the age of eight to ten had a greater risk of experiencing psychotic symptoms in adolescence.

In such cases, it is important that the child or youth get immediate help of the specialist. If a teacher or parent discovers bullying or long-term effects of bullying, it is important to take this up with the school and GP as early as possible, to ensure that the child receives the necessary assistance.

Text: Associate professor Klara Øverland



Sources
Taking on School Bullies. Harvard Mental Health Letter, Sept. 1th 2009. [Read: Feb. 15th 2015] http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2009/September/taking-on-school-bullies

Schreier A, et al.: Prospective Study of Peer Victimization in Childhood and Psychotic Symptoms in a Nonclinical Population at Age 12 Years. - Archives of General Psychiatry (May 2009): Vol. 66, No. 5, pp. 527

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