Cyberbullying Takes Lives

As a society we are having a mental health care crisis.

According to the April 2016 Center for Disease Control and Prevention Report, the number of suicides in the United States has been on the rise every year from 1999-2014 in every age group except those 75 years and older. In 2014, 13 people out of every 100,000 took their own lives, compared with 10.5 per 100,000 in 1999.

I am sharing these facts with you to raise awareness about the importance of OUR mental health so that we can take action. It is interesting to think about the impact that the use of the internet and social media has had on societal mental health as the increased use parallels the rise in suicide completions during the same time period.

According to the CDC suicide, is the 3rd leading cause of death among young people with approximately 4400 deaths per year.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the use of information technology to repeatedly harm or harass other people in a deliberate manner. According to U.S. legal definitions: “Cyberbullying could be limited to posting rumors or gossips about a person in the internet bringing about hatred in other’s minds; or it may go to the extent of personally identifying victims and publishing materials severely defaming and humiliating them.”

Did you know that 20% of kids cyberbullied think about suicide, and 1 in 10 attempt it?

As an adult and child board certified psychiatrist I am on the front lines every day helping individuals coping with mental health challenges that can be life threatening. This month I evaluated a 10 year old and three teenagers that each had a predisposition to depression and anxiety that were exposed to cyberbullying that triggered suicidal ideation. Our unkind words, thoughts and actions towards one another have an impact that is real and can be life threatening.

Our use of social media does not have an “etiquette filter” built into our devices and people often say mean, nasty and abusive comments to one another that they would most likely not say to one another face to face. People are verbally and emotionally abusing each other daily and OUR children are being raised in a milieu environment that is affecting their ability to attend school, their mental health and their safety.

Did you know?

  • 3 million kids per month are absent from school due to bullying
  • 24/7 bullying around the clock can happen with internet access

Here are some tips:

  • Pause before you hit send on social media.
  • Do not email, post or tweet anything that you would not say to someone’s face.
  • Remember our thoughts, words, intentions and actions can emotionally lift each other up or bring us down.

I interviewed Lauren Batchelder on my podcast last week about how she handled cyberbullying that included rape and death threats after a President-elect Donald Trump tweet in October of 2015.

Listen the podcast.

View the transcript of the interview.

Thank you Lauren for agreeing to this interview. Your resiliency, maturity and desire to make the world a better place by sharing your story is truly inspiring.

With gratitude,

Dr. Denise

Resource for Cyberbullying

For more tips check out: Mental Health and How to Thrive