Nearly 3,500 Kids Help Phone counselling sessions a year relate to bullying

- Professional counsellors available for interviews during Bullying Awareness Week, contact media@kidshelpphone.ca-

TORONTO, Nov. 12, 2014 /CNW/ - Bullying rates in Canada are higher than two-thirds of OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries1 and 78 per cent of Canadians believe that not enough is being done to stop bullying in their community.1 But during Bullying Awareness Week (November 16 – 23), individuals across Canada have an opportunity to take a stand, and Kids Help Phone is encouraging people of all ages to get involved.

Did you know?

  • In 2013, Kids Help Phone saw a 10 per cent increase in calls related to bullying and harassment during last year's Bullying Awareness Week
  • Nearly 9 per cent of Kids Help Phone contacts over the phone and online relate to bullying
  • During the school year (September – May) there is a 51 per cent increase in bullying and harassment contacts
  • Young people aged 12 to 14 account for a third of all bullying and harassment related counselling sessions in 2013
  • Eighty-seven per cent of Canadian students in grades 8 – 10 reported witnessing school bullying2  
  • Peers are present in 90 per cent of bullying incidents. Audiences give those who bully attention and social status1
  • A Kids Help Phone poll on the teen sites showed that 24 per cent of respondents would tell a friend if they were being bullied or cyberbullying, and 50 per cent would tell no one

"Bullying involves a pattern of hurting someone on purpose and should always be taken seriously," says Duane, counsellor at Kids Help Phone.  "Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and although we can't control what others might say or do, there are ways for us to address bullying. Remember that you are not alone. Speaking up to someone that we trust, like a parent, guardian or teacher, until we get the support we need can be a great way to work through our feelings and hopefully start to see change."

Research proves that Kids Help Phone counselling is highly effective: 87 per cent of phone clients experienced a reduction in self-reported distress3 and 71 per cent of Live Chat clients reported an increase in clarity on how to cope with or change their situation.3

Being the target of bullying can be hurtful, scary, and isolating. Here are some tips for parents and adults to address bullying and create a safe space:

  • Educate yourself on the different types of bullying, and how to "be there" for the kids in your life, whether they are being bullied, bullying, or watching it happen.
  • Talk about bullying with kids and teens regularly, and particularly when they may be walking into unfamiliar social situations like starting a new school.
  • Listen and take it seriously. If a young person reports a bullying incident, take their concern seriously and let them know you are there to help.
  • Encourage kids to do the right thing. Explain that there are many ways to stand up, and reporting the incident to an adult isn't tattling if it's keeping someone safe.
  • Encourage assertiveness, not aggression. Don't advocate for kids to fight back. Fighting or responding to abuse or rumours with more of the same isn't a reasonable solution.
  • Don't minimize the experience. Bullying can be scary. Let kids know you are on their side.
  • Set an example. Demonstrate what it means to be inclusive, kind, and respectful of others.
  • Foster empathy. When kids are able to understand what it might feel like to be bullied, they may think twice before doing it.
  • Repeatedly let the kids in your life know they are not alone and encourage them to open up to people they trust.

Parents, caregivers, teachers, and young people who want more information about Bullying Awareness Week are asked to visit kidshelpphone.ca/BAW, where you will find tips, resources and an uplifting video by Degrassi's Sarah Fisher called Walk On. Sarah is our friend and Celebrity Ambassador and wrote this song for Kids Help Phone in support of bullying awareness. 

Kids Help Phone counsellors are always here to help young people ages five to 20 at kidshelpphone.ca or 1-800-668-6868.

Sources
1 Source: PREVNet, Bullying Statistics, 2014: http://www.prevnet.ca/research/bullying-statistics
2 Source: Kids Help Phone, Bullying, 2014: http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/Teens/InfoBooth/Bullying/Are-You-A-Bystander.aspx 
3 Source: Kids Help Phone, Proof Positive, 2013: http://www.kidshelpdev.org/khp-org/proofpositive/en/documents/KHP_English_Proof_Positive_FINAL.pdf

About Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is a Canadian and world leader, known for its expertise and continuous innovation as Canada's only 24/7 professional counselling and information service for young people. Since 1989, it has offered kids, teens, and young adults a critical lifeline of hope and support through its free, anonymous service, which research shows significantly improves youth mental health. Young people reach out to Kids Help Phone's counsellors from every corner of the country via phone, Live Chat, and web post, and also benefit from its database of 46,000 local youth-serving programs. Kids Help Phone's websites and Always There app, both widely recognized models of youth-focused design, offer therapeutic tools, games, information, and counselling. As an organization that speaks with young people every day, Kids Help Phone works to share their perspectives and improve their well-being on a societal level. Kids Help Phone raises the majority of its revenue from individuals, foundations, corporations, and community fundraising; thanks to its generous donors, it can be there – always – for the 6.5 million young people in Canada between five and 20, in English and in French.

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SOURCE: Kids Help Phone

For further information: Media contact: Jennifer Long, jennifer.long@kidshelpphone.ca, 416-988-5529

RELATED LINKS
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