Can Bullying Lead to Suicide?

Can bullying lead to suicide? Yes. And many youth have chosen suicide because of the bullying. They could not take it anymore. What does that say about our society? What does that say about all the programs and discussions taking place in homes and in schools about the topic? It appears like they are not enough and not reaching the students or youth who need it most.

Is bullying being dealt with properly and effectively? I am not sure. I have seen some great programs in place online and within schools here in Canada. In my research, I have come across awesome websites, hotlines, programs in schools in the USA….but if youth are still thinking, believing, and attempting suicide because of bullying that is occurring to them-what is one to think?

I just came across an article on social media about teens and North-East Ohio and suicide. It really made me pause and think…why Ohio? Why do they have a higher suicide rate? Sure it is cold there, maybe not a lot to do in North-East Ohio and teens spend more time on social media and interacting through their gadgets than in person. But Northern Canada is colder, has even less to do, and the rates of suicide are not as high. Other issues though. What is it about Ohio? In Canada, there is a site that discusses suicide by province. Statistics Canada discusses suicide as well, but ages 40-59 had the highest rates.

Another article I came across on social media discussed what to do AFTER a youth attempts suicide and is not successful. It discusses the rates of attempts doubling in the last decade. That is a very worrying statistic. Smartphones, iPads, and tablets are the last 10 years worth of electronic creations and youth are definitely glued to their devices. Texting, messaging, apps like Snapshot, Instagram, selfie photos are the way to communicate vs. actually talking in person or talking on the phone like my generation did.

It discusses the term WRAP. A Wellness Recovery Action Plan needs to be in place, a go-to resource that a child can use when they feel stressed, need additional support, or experience a crisis.

“As a parent of a child who has experienced suicidal thoughts or actions, one of the most important things to remember is that you are not alone. Help is available for both your child and you—these resources may provide additional assistance.”

Suicide Resources for USA & Canada:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: www.afsp.org

American Association of Suicidology

Center for Suicide Awareness (HOPELINE):  text HOPELINE to 741741 on mobile devices for immediate help

Crisis Text Line:  text HOME to 741741

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  or 1-800-273-8255

Patient Safety Plan Template: www.sprc.org/sites/default/files/Brown_StanleySafetyPlanTemplate.pdf

The Social Work Podcast (offers a number of podcasts on suicide from experts such as Jonathan Singer, PhD, LCSW, and Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW): socialworkpodcast.com

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration among its resources are screening tools available at www.integration.samhsa.gov/clinical-practice/screening-tools#suicide

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE)

Suicide Prevention Resource Centerwww.sprc.org

Crisis Services Canada

The Life Line Canada

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

Crisis Text Line or Text HOME to 686868 in Canada

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5 thoughts on “Can Bullying Lead to Suicide?

  1. rginsberg2 says:

    Well done, Vikki! It is such an important subject. As social workers, we MUST attend to it! People are in such pain because of bullying. We’re here to help, and we had better know what we are doing!

    1. mswwrites says:

      Totally agree Rea! Adults whether a social work other helping professional or not, need to learn and know the signs and symptoms of bullying and cyberbullying. Educational staff should not have to fear if they step in and stop an incident or report one as youth should not either.

  2. Payne says:

    Very true. BULLYING is major contributor to suicide. The reason so many schools refuse to accept this is in two parts Imagine if we were to start charging kids with unintentional homicide. Which in truth it is. The Bully who typically is from a toxic environment would pay the ultimate price. But in turn the school would be tarnished How can I say bullying is direct cause? Many preteens that commit suicide replicate the methods their bullies have taunted them with. For instance one eleven year old boy hung himself after being bullied for a significant period of time. The Bully was known to have said your worthless and you should just hang yourself. The second reason is equally frustrating. If schools acknowledge the bullying. Is, reason behind the suicides, then as custodians of your children they would be liable for the damage to your child while in their care.

    1. mswwrites says:

      Suicide and youth not a good mix and so sad….who knows what a particular youth would have done career-wise or the contributions they could have made to society as a whole.
      Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15 to 24 year olds. According to the National Institute of Mental Health:

      There are 25 attempted suicides to one completed suicide — with the ratio even higher in youth.

      The strongest risk factors for attempted suicide in youth are depression, substance abuse, and aggressive or disruptive behaviors.

      Threats of suicide communicate a cry for help. Always take statements of suicidal feelings, thoughts, behaviors, or plans very seriously. Any youth who expresses thoughts of suicide should be evaluated immediately.

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