In an effort to support children during this unprecedented time of crisis, we are offering weekly resources and activities to help support children’s mental health.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month and the Children's Mental Health Matter's Campaign is taking this month to focus on raising awareness on bullying. Learn what bullying is, how you can take steps to support your child or student who is being bullied, how bullying affects a child, as well as resources for support.
What is bullying?
Bullying is a common experience for children, adolescents, and even adults. One in five teens reports being bullied. Teasing, ignoring, or intentionally hurting another person are all types of bullying. Harassment and sexual harassment are also considered forms of bullying. Bullies can be seen as large and aggressive, but also small and cunning. Victims of bullying may have poor self-confidence and typically react to threats by avoiding the bully. Both bullies and their victims make up a fringe group within schools. Both bullies and victims may feel insecure. Typically, boys bully by using physical intimidation and girls bully through social intimidation - excluding others from peer interactions.
Types of bullying
Verbal bullying - Saying or writing cruel things about another person.
- Inappropriate sexual comments
- Threatening to cause harm
Social bullying - Sometimes referred to as relational bullying. Involves hurting someone's reputation or relationships.
- Leaving someone out on purpose
- Telling others not to be friends with someone
- Spreading rumors
- Embarrassing someone in public
Physical bullying - Involves hurting a person's body or possessions.
- Hitting/kicking/pinching, etc
- Tripping/pushing, etc.
- Take or breaking someone's things
- Make mean or rude hand gestures
Cyberbullying - Bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology such as cell phones, tablets, computers, social media, text messages, chat apps, etc.
- Cruel text messages or email
- Rumors sent via email or posted on social media websites
- Embarrassing photos, videos, fake profiles, etc.
What Can We Do About It?
- Know your child’s routines and pay attention to any changes to that routine. Does your child arrive home later than usual, take alternate routes to school (in order to avoid confrontation with a bully), or appear more overwhelmed or sad?
- Maintain close contact with teachers to see if your child avoids certain classes or school settings. This may also help you to understand bullying.
- Empower your child by showing how much you value them. Spend time talking with them about personal self worth and the importance of sticking up for themselves.
- Help your child understand the difference between aggression and passive communication by showing different examples of each. Ask your school psychologist or social worker to explain the different forms of communication: aggressive (typical of bullying), passive (typical of bullying victims) and assertive (most effective means of communication).
- Discuss with your child the impact of being a bully and how bullying is hurtful and harmful. Model how to treat others with kindness and respect.
- If you suspect your child is being bullied at school, talk with your child’s teacher or principal. Children should not be afraid to go to school or play in their neighborhood.
- If your child sees another child being bullied, help your child report the bully to a teacher or another adult. Saying nothing could make it worse for everyone. Become familiar with the bullying prevention curriculum at your child’s school. For example, in Maryland, state law requires that all public schools include a bullying prevention component within their curriculum. See Maryland State Department of Education website for more information: http://marylandpublicschools.org/about/Pages/DSFSS/SSSP/Bullying/index.aspx
The Children’s Mental Health Matters Campaign stands with the Black community and is outraged by current and past tragedies in our state and across the country. We know many families and groups may be struggling to know how to have important conversations with their children about racism and inequality in our country. This situation has caused added anxiety and the Campaign would like to provide resources to address both the anxiety and the important discussions you may be having. Please know that the Campaign strives to be sensitive and responsive.
We encourage you to share any helpful community resources you have found by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Parents & Families
The following resources, offered by the The Steve Fund - Achieving Equity for Mental Health in Youth of Color, may help young people cope during this difficult period. Young people can also Text STEVE to 741741 to reach a culturally trained crisis text line counselor.
Educators & Providers
Online Book Readings
Anti-Racism Book Lists | Prince George's County Memorial Library System (scroll to bottom of page)
School closures, teleworking, rising unemployment and an uncertain future have left families to cope with stay at home orders under heightened stress and anxiety. As we do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, families may encounter a situation where crisis services are needed to assist with a mental health issue, substance use disorder, abusive situation, or even support navigating digital safety issues.
This week we are highlighting several important safety topics that impact families each day, but even more during this pandemic, including: crisis services, mental health, suicide, substance use, abuse and digital safety.
Please save and share these valuable resources and stay safe.
Maryland's Crisis Hotline is available 24 hours days a week to provide support, guidance and assistance: Call 211, press 1
Emergency number: 9-1-1
National Suicide Prevention Hotlines: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (-8255)
Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, press 1
Maryland Crisis Online Chat: http://www.help4mdyouth.org/chat/ (available Mon.- Fri., 4pm - 9pm)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 for TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
The Safe Schools Maryland Tip Line: Whether students are experiencing cyberbullying or are concerned about one or more students capable of self-harm or violence, The Safe Schools Maryland Tip Line is anonymous and accessible 24/7 by phone at 1-833-MD-B-SAFE (1-833-632-7233), online at safeschoolsmd.org, and by downloading the free app via the App Store or Google Play.
Maryland Coalition of Families: Provides online support groups for families caring for someone with mental health or substance use disorder, online meet-ups for young adults aged 18-26 who are struggling with their mental health, online Narcan and parenting trainings, as well as online book clubs, exercise groups, self-care workshops and cooking classes. See the list of online support groups here. See the list of events and trainings here.
OK2TALK: A community for support teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems by encouraging them to talk about what they’re experiencing—sharing their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle, and hope. Learn more.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call is routed to the nearest crisis center in the national network of more than 150 crisis centers. 1-800-273-TALK (8255) TTY: 1-800-799-4889 www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
COVID-19 Resources - Crisis Response | The National Center for School Mental Health: Offers multiple resources on suicide under the Crisis Response category.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: For any victims and survivors who need support, we are here for you, 24/7. Call 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 for TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from stress, adversity, or even trauma. It is a skill that we develop as we grow. All children, and adults, are capable of working through the difficulties they will face throughout their lifetime. One of the many ways to build resilience is through taking care of ourselves, which can be practiced in many ways, including:
- Talking about and labeling emotions
- Making time for relationships
- Practicing gratitude
- Spending time outside and prioritizing exercise
- Following a healthy diet and trying to sleep well
- Taking a break from media
- Practicing relaxation and coping skills
We hope this week’s resources will help you and your families to build resilience during this stressful time.
During this unprecedented public health crisis, it’s common to feel a lot of stress and anxiety. In addition to the tragic loss of life, health, and income, we’re experiencing the loss of our daily routines.
Many of us are grieving.
Grief can be a strong, and sometimes overwhelming emotion, but it’s a natural reaction to loss. We may find ourselves and our children in the stages of grief and loss, which include:
- Denial and isolation
Those who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them. This week, we are providing resources for your families to help cope with the big feelings that come with the 5 stages of grief. We hope that you find them useful and that you remember to reach out for help if you find yourself, or your child, struggling.
Our lives have been turned upside down. The days seem to run together now that many of us struggle to manage parenting, classwork, jobs, or even job loss. As families begin to feel the stress that comes with a global pandemic and massive shifts in daily routine, how do they know when that stress had become something more concerning? Long-term stress may develop into anxiety at any age. And, too much stress or anxiety can affect our ability to think clearly.
Here are 5 simple ways that adults and children can decrease stress while practicing social distancing:
- Move your body
- Eat well & drink enough water
- Turn off your phone/limit social media/media & news exposure
- Get a good night's sleep
- Have fun together!
We hope this week’s resources and tools will help you and your family to remember self-care, improve your coping skills, and calm your fears.
Being a parent can be stressful in many ways. Add in a global pandemic, school closures, remote working, and nagging uncertainty and stress can increase rapidly. How do we balance working from home while helping our children learn and play? How do we adapt to changing routines while managing our households as this situation unfolds?
For over 20 years, the Children’s Mental Health Matters! Campaign has worked to raise awareness of the importance of children’s mental health by connecting communities and providing resources that promote resiliency. During this difficult time, we want you to know that you are not alone. Adjusting to new routines is difficult for each of us—young and old. Below you will find links to information that we hope will support you as you navigate the new normal and create a routine that meets the needs of your family.