The first Monday in October is World Bullying Prevention Day and October is National Bullying Prevention Month. The STAND TOGETHER team stands as one by wearing blue, the color of bullying awareness. Bullying is one of the basic marks of STIGMA. It’s okay to be DIFFERENT and it’s NOT OKAY to make fun of or harass someone if they are different NO MATTER WHAT! Bullying occurs in children as well as ADULTS! NO MATTER what the age, bullying is unacceptable.
If you remember from the training, stigma is a socially created concept. With regards to mental health, it describes the negative perceptions and stereotypes associated with mental health disorders in our society, which often prevents people from getting help. Stigma reinforces erroneous perceptions of people with mental health disorders as weak, unintelligent, and sometimes dangerous. In simplest terms, stigma is shame, shame causes silence, and silence hurts us all.
Bullying, more specifically, is “unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both individuals who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems. Bullying is the playing out of stigma in relationships.” Bullying can be verbal (words), social (reputation: gossip, rumors, cliques, etc.), or physical (violence). When people bully, they are making another person feel inferior or less than worthy by judging, labeling, or singling him/her out because of his/her differences. We are all unique and that makes us beautiful! The reality is that no matter what, we still have more in common than we do different. We are all human, we all want to be happy, we all want to be loved. The more we focus on the things that bring us together, the more we can shut down stereotypes and discrimination and end bullying.
NO MATTER who you are, what you look like, your sexual orientation, your race, your beliefs … we are ALL the same, we are ALL people, NO MATTER! Speak up, speak out! Stop the stigma! Stomp out bullying! Be kind! BE YOU!
Credits to stompoutbullying.org for the icon and stopbullying.gov for the information.
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