There’s a song by Australian singer Kate Miller-Heidke where she recounts a story from her own past about bullying. She wasn’t the bully. Or the bullied.
She was the person who didn’t act.
If I could go back do it again / I’d be someone you could call friend / Please please believe that I’m sorry she sings.
The song underlines the point that bullying has a damaging effect on not just the main protagonists, but also on a much wider circle of people. It’s an impact that can take years to heal.
Miller-Heideke I’m sure support the words of headspace Ambassador, AFL player Dan Jackson, who wrote eloquently about this very issue last Friday in a column for the Herald Sun marking National Day Against Bullying and Violence.
In the column, he urged young people to stand up and show courage instead of being bystanders.
“The most important message parents and other role models can teach kids is the message my dad taught me: to have courage, stand proud and speak out for those who dare not speak out for themselves,” he said.
It’s a sentiment I wholeheartedly support. Imagine if everyone who witnessed bullying – whether at school, in the workplace or at home – stood up and said clearly and strongly that it wasn’t going to be tolerated.
Bullying would very quickly be a thing of the past.
Unfortunately, we all know that bullying isn’t going to be eradicated that easily. Until it is, there are things that we can do as parents and friends to support someone who is being bullied to ease the burden on them:
*Listen to them and take seriously their feelings and fears.
*Don’t call them names (even in a joking way), such as ‘weak’ or ‘a sook’, make sure others don’t make the same mistake.
*Parents can try to give their child as much power as possible to find solutions so he or she can feel more in control. Solving problems by themselves, with your support, can really boost their self esteem.
*Focus on the things they do well. This will make them feel more confident.
Of course, if the bullied person has been traumatised, they may need someone to talk to.
If that’s the case, headspace is there to help with centres around the country, as well as the eheadspace online and telephone support service
You never know, even bullies may find a visit to headspace useful – headspace, after all, welcomes everyone.
Watch the video we produced to tackle bullying featuring our ambassadors Ruby Rose, Dylan Lewis, James Mason and many more.