Bullied children’s depression can grow: Expert - GulfToday

Bullied children’s depression can grow: Expert

Teens in trouble

The photos has been used for illustrative purposes.

Shamila Jamaluddin, Staff Reporter

It is crucial for parents to intervene if their child is bullied in order to avoid consequences later in life, says an expert from an American hospital.

Child psychiatrist from Cleveland Clinic Children’s Dr Tatiana Falcone gives advice on immediate steps parents should take to mitigate the serious long-term risks posed by chronic bullying.

She points to a study published this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association that showed children who were victims of bullying were at higher risk of having depressive symptoms in adulthood.

While she did not take part in that study, Dr Falcone says the results fit in with previous study findings. “In a research study we undertook for Cleveland Clinic Children’s a few years ago, our team found the effects of emotional trauma on children could have an impact on the brain as severe as if a person has suffered a traumatic brain injury,” she explains.

She points out that the cyberbullying differs from face-to-face aggression in that it not only affects children outside of the school grounds, but also has far more extensive reach. “A few years ago, if something happened in the classroom, only three or four people knew about it, but now the whole school will know about it,” she says.

An established body of research has linked bullying to teen suicides, but a newer study suggests the effects of chronic bullying in childhood can affect victims into their adulthood.

An Asian expatriate mother of a grade nine student who wishes to remain anonymous spoke to ‘Gulf Today’, she herself being a victim of bullying in her school. She was bullied by her Mathematics teacher for being weak in the subject and not gaining A’s for exams. She was bullied since age five by several maths teachers till she reached her final exams. Mrs S explained that bullying can happen anywhere, in the schools or outside of it.

“I have always kept a vigilant eye on my children and have observed their behaviour. Thank God they are intelligent students and gain good marks in their subjects including Maths and Science subjects.”

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