This week’s Mental Health Session is a Pink Shirt Day special! Pink Shirt Day is a movement celebrated around the world (here in New Zealand it’s tomorrow, Friday 18th May!) to speak out and stand up against bullying, and to celebrate kindness and individuality. I thought Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” was a perfect fit for this theme!
But… what does bullying have to do with mental health, I hear you ask? It’s not something we talk about very much in mental health discussions, but we need to. Here’s why: young people who are bullied are more likely to experience mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. In fact, high school students who are bullied weekly are four times more likely to experience significant depressive symptoms. In New Zealand, this is 20% of high-schoolers! Twenty percent. Very severe, intense or sustained bullying may lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviours. Bullying doesn’t end once you finish school either – workplace bullying affects 15-20% of the New Zealand workforce.
So what can you do? If you see bullying happening around you, or somebody confides in you that they are being bullied, take it seriously. Let them know that you care and that you will help make it stop. You can reach out to somebody you trust for support, such as parents/friends/whanau, and if you are at school, you can speak to a teacher or a counsellor. If you’re in a workplace, you can refer to your workplace policy on bullying, and figure out what steps to take. You can also reach out to a helpline for support and advice (I’ve put NZ helplines at the bottom of this post, but if you’re not from NZ you can look up helplines for your country!)
And here are some fun ways you can get involved with the Pink Shirt Day 2018 festivities!
2. You can share a selfie of yourself wearing pink this Friday 18th May (tomorrow!) on social media to show that you’re standing up and speaking out against bullying. Use the hashtag #pinkshirtdaynz and share it with me at @sarahalleyn too if you like – I’d love to see! You don’t have to be from NZ to participate in this either – kindness is global! 😄
3. You can read up more on Pink Shirt Day over at www.pinkshirtday.org.nz and try out their adorable compliment maker – and while you’re at it, I have a compliment related Pink Shirt Day giveaway over on my Insta if you want to check that out too!
Kindness is a superpower, my friends! You never know whose life you might impact by just reaching out and being kind. By standing up and speaking out together, we can make a difference!
1737 – Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.
Youthline – 0800 37 66 33, free text 234 or email email@example.com for young people, and their parents, whānau and friends.
What’s Up – 0800 942 8787 (0800 WHATSUP), www.whatsup.co.nz
for 5–18 year olds. Phone counselling is available Mon-Fri 12pm-11pm and Sat-Sun 3pm-11pm. Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.
Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 KIDSLINE)
for children up to 14 years of age. Available 24/7. Between 4-9pm calls are answered by
specially trained Year 12 & 13 students.
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
for confidential support to anyone who is lonely or in emotional distress 24 hours a day, 365
days a year.
Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
for people in distress, and people who are worried about someone else.
thelowdown.co.nz – visit the website or free text 5626
support for young people experiencing depression or anxiety.
Common Ground – www.commonground.org.nz
for advice about supporting a friend or classmate.
All the stats in this blog post come from www.pinkshirtday.co.nz