Be Kind. Be Calm. Be Safe. Bonnie Henry’s instructions to B.C. residents don’t just apply to the coronavirus pandemic. Her message also applies to youth struggling with their mental health as a result of being bullied.
Be Kind: According to the province of B.C., half of Canadian parents say their children have been bullied. As simple as it is, kindness can be part of the solution to bullying.
Bullying isn’t always dramatic, like a punch to the nose or cyberbullying. Bullying is intentional and repeated behaviour that makes others feel uncomfortable, scared or hurt. Bullying includes being unkind: excluding those less popular than you, making fun of others, mocking, or name-calling.
“A thousand pinpricks to my heart.” That’s how one student describes the bullying they experience at school. It’s subtle, but seemingly harmless jabs aren’t funny for those who are the butt of the joke. The repeated behaviour hurts, and too many of those “pinpricks” can lead to serious mental health issues. Let’s stop hurting each other. Check your behaviour. We can all do our part to be more inclusive, to be kinder to one another.
Be Calm: The good news is that there is something you can do to help. Get Involved!
Learn – Students and parents can learn more about how to erase bullying on the province’s erase website. erase = expect respect & a safe education.
Communicate – Talk with your kids about bullying and kindness. Share the resources below, and encourage youth to reach out for help if needed.
Stand up – Make sure your child knows that it’s OK to stand up for themselves, but it’s not okay to be violent or aggressive. We become part of the problem by watching bad things happen and not doing or saying anything about it. Teach your child not to be a bystander or to encourage bullying behaviour by laughing at it or joining in. Encourage kids to stand up for themselves and each other by telling a bully to “stop,” walk away, and report the bullying to a trusted adult.
Donate – Donate to an organization that helps youth in our community.
Be Safe: Everybody needs to feel safe. Thankfully youth have several organizations where they can access help and safe spaces:
*Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or kidshelpphone.ca
The Kids Help Phone provides kids and teens access to a professional counsellor to discuss their concerns 24 hours a day. This service is judgment-free, confidential, and anonymous. Texting is also available by messaging the word CONNECT to 686868. Online chat is available as well.
*Crisis line: 1-800-SUICIDE
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-784-2433
*www.seatoskysafetynet.com: This directory of local resources helps connect students and families to mental health and substance use support. and includes upcoming community events.
*School counsellors: School counsellors are available to support students’ social and emotional as well as educational and career development. If you know a child who is experiencing bullying or mental health challenges, encourage them to reach out to their school counsellor.
*Foundry: A new Foundry is slated to open near Howe Sound Secondary in the spring of 2022. Foundry Sea to Sky will be 5,000 square feet of newly built space for free youth counselling, mental health services, and primary health care, along with hang-out and recreational space. It will be a safe place for youth to find the care, connection and supports they need.
Donating to Foundry Sea to Sky is one quick, simple action you can take to help our community’s youth. To donate to Foundry and make this amazing facility a reality, please go to www.foundryseatosky.com/donations.html.
However you choose to get involved, let’s stand together to do our part to help erase bullying and make our community a kinder, safer place for all our youth.