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Bullying and Mental Health - Episode 10

Bullying and Mental Health - Episode 10

Bullying impacts more than just a student’s education, it can also affect their emotional health and well-being. In this week’s episode, we are thrilled to share an interview with Dr. Barry Garfinkel, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, who talks about the impact of bullying, signs children may demonstrate, and tips for parents on supporting their child. A special thanks to Dr. Garfinkel for being a part of this series and sharing this important information! Check back next Wednesday for another episode.

  • Author: NBPC
  • Duration: 7:34 minutes
  • Date Posted: 11/14/2018

Series: PACERTalks About Bullying - Season 2

We are thrilled to return for another season with more videos featuring interviews, stories, and informational content. New this season will be the feature “Ask Us” in which we will respond to questions from students around the world.


>> Hey there. Welcome back to PACERTalks About Bullying. I'm Bailey. We're glad you're here.

On this week's episode, we have a very exciting interview with Dr. Barry Garfinkel, a Minnesota-based child and adolescent psychiatrist. He's going to share a little bit about the impact that bullying has on students' health, signs to look for, as well as conversation starters for parents. Now, let's get into the interview. So, on this episode of PACERTalks About Bullying, we are so excited to have Barry Garfinkel with us today. Thank you for being here.

>> Thank you for inviting me.

>> So, my first question for you in this video is a little bit about the science about bullying. So, as we know, the majority of kids don't report bullying to an adult.

>> Exactly.

>> So, what are some signs that parents can look for that their child might be experiencing bullying?

>> Well, I think the chief thing that we want parents to be alerted to is be suspicious if the child is coming home unhappy or coming home early or looking different. I'm not as energized by going to school or being involved in the math club or in the soccer team. They're trying to avoid the pattern that existed before. And the reasons for not participating as they did previously is because of some vague complaints, my stomach hurts, my head hurts, I'm not well. So many children who are being bullied are feeling that my parents won't understand or they'll be disappointed in me and therefore I have to have a physical reason not to be at school.

>> Right. So, really just looking for those changes in behavior, things that they're normally doing.

>> That's right. The pattern that existed up to this point.

>> And so you talked a little bit kind of about the physical effects, the physical bullying, but what about some of those mental effects that bullying can have?

>> Well, the chief mental thing that we look for is isolation. I feel alone. I feel-- I can't talk to my parents about it, can't talk to my peers or maybe one peer will understand because he or she may have been bullied, but I really think it's this I'm alone feeling with this. And I feel that young people feel that all the attachment, all the relationships that they established along the way are now affected and in fact severed, so no one could understand what I'm going through is what I hear all the time.

>> Right. So, as we talked about a little bit, bullying is a really hard thing for kids to talk about and takes time, so what suggestions would you have for parents about how to start that conversation?

>> Well, keep in mind that no child wants to reveal to their parent that they had a terrible day at school, everyone-- they feel that everyone was teasing them or hurting their feelings. So, the last thing the child wants to do is to share that. They want to make sense of it the best they can on their own and the parent sees that the child is different than the child who went to school that day. And the child-- the parent is trying to say what's going to explain this difference. We want all parents to be aware that bullying occurs. It could happen in any grade to even the most talented, gifted child. Be suspicious that it could have occurred and don't jump right into it. In fact, the younger children need more indirect ways to start talking. Sometimes a child will bring it up while being chauffeured or taxied to their next activity by a parent. Or knowing where there's only two more minutes before they have to all head off to church or another activity. And that's-- children just drop a hint of it, like a huge bomb, and then knowing there's so little time left, the parent will have to follow up on it. And it's the follow up when there's far more time to really tease it apart where the child will feel unburdened. So, the paradox is children-- half of the child wants to keep it and stuff it, keep it secret, and the other half, they know they'll feel better if they unburden themselves.

>> Right.

>> And it's the parent who is going to persist, not forget about it, and revisit it. You know, you mentioned you had a rough day at recess a couple weeks ago. Could-- do we have time to talk about it now?

>> Right. So, it sounds like being consistent and then really kind of having those open-ended questions--

>> And having a good memory for the hints and kind of these slight indicators that something happened and not to let it go, but wait until you have a really good chunk of time to talk about it.

>> I think that's awesome advice. So, as we wrap up this video, is there anything else you want to share with our audience as a final takeaway?

>> Well, I'd like to add that I believe that parents have to be aware that the child wants to tell the bad experience and being bullied, but they are not sure because their trust has been affected. Even their trust for their parents and certainly the trust for their teacher and the safety within the school and within their peer group. So, it's a child who is questioning all the bonds that they've established up until that point. And if the parent goes slowly and not expect a total outpouring-- that sometimes occurs, but I'd say it's more rare. But if you're patient and if you take your time, you'll hear it all.

>> Right.

>> And be ready to hear it all.

>> Right. And I think that's great of really recognizing the kind of impact that bullying has on the trust and how that then impacts the conversation. Such a great connection to make to wrap up this video. And that wraps up this week's episode of PACERTalks About Bullying. Thanks again so much to Dr. Barry Garfinkel for being part of this interview. We'll see you right back here next week and remember together we can create a world without bullying. See ya!