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AlterCareLine Free Emotional Support Can Help Californians During Bullying Prevention Month

Dana Point, California — Bullying has become a growing problem for children and teens, who are harassed and harmed more than ever. To help combat this through awareness and support, BeWellLine is promoting its free telephone counseling and referral service for California residents. BeWellLine supports National Bullying Prevention Month, declared every October by PACER, an advocacy group for children with disabilities.

California has one of the nation’s highest state rates of bullying. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System of the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 15 percent of students in grades 9-12 nationwide reported bullying in school. Meanwhile, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s annual Youth Right Now survey has reported that instances of bullying have increased from 26 percent of students in 2019 to 40 percent in 2023. The survey also reports that 18 percent experienced cyberbullying — up from 13 percent in 2019.

Being bullied and the effects of bullying in school put youth at higher risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school, and can lead to physical injury, social and emotional distress, self-harm, and even death, the CDC says. 

These concerning numbers, besides the numerous negative impacts bullying has on children’s mental health and overall well-being, emphasize the importance of counseling services. While schools, parents, and educators need to intervene in bullying, counseling for bullying is also necessary to help children process their feelings and reverse the impact of bullying. Luckily, California has implemented anti-bullying laws that require school districts to adopt a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying and procedures for preventing acts of bullying and cyberbullying.

One possible resource for help for those Californians experiencing the impact of bullying is BeWellLine, a free emotional support chat and warmline. When people in the state call BeWellLine at 866-349-6597 or go online to start an online chat, they’re connected with trained Support Specialists who can offer guidance, practical advice, and a compassionate listening ear. But it’s not just about a one-time call or chat — BeWellLine focuses on longitudinal care, meaning the team will support people who reach out and help them devise a plan to continue getting the help they need.

The CDC defines bullying as repeated acts of “unwanted aggressive behavior” by one youth or youth group against another who is not their sibling or in a dating relationship with the victim. Power is the driving force behind the behavior: the stronger person attacking someone they perceive to be weaker. But physical, psychological, social, or educational harm. 

Even the bullies can be harmed, says the CDC. They are at higher risk of substance misuse, academic problems, and experiencing violence later in adolescence and adulthood. They are at greater risk for mental health and behavioral problems when bullied.

Bullies work in several ways: physically, using aggressive behavior like hitting, kicking, and tripping; verbally, such as name-calling and teasing; socially, through harmful rumors and excluding from the group; and damaging the victim’s property.

Cyberbullying is an increasingly common form of bullying, hurting the victim with technology like social media and texting. It’s an especially harmful form. Unlike other kinds of bullying, cyberbullying never stops; it follows the victim home and can be conducted virtually around the clock. It can also involve many more than one bully — groups can gang up on the victim. Even if the victim gets them to stop, the damaging rumors and false accusations remain in cyberspace forever.

Students who suffer from bullying also find their schoolwork suffering. According to a study cited by the American Psychological Association, children who suffered chronic levels of bullying during their school years had lower academic achievement, a greater dislike of school, and less confidence in their intellectual abilities. The performance was about the same for children who had experienced moderate bullying that increased later in their school years. 

The good news is that children who suffered decreasing bullying showed about the same performance as children who had never been bullied — so it may be possible to recover from bullying after it stops.

For those who have experienced bullying behavior, contact the BeWellLine help center at 866-349-0854 or visit https://www.bewellline.com/.

About Alter Health Group™

Alter Health Group™ provides a range of mental health services that combine the latest science and evidence-based treatment with compassion and understanding to help people recover, grow, and build a better life than they had before. To that end, its network of mental health and drug and alcohol addiction treatment facilities provides a diverse array of treatments and services that aim to promote holistic healing. With several locations in Southern California, Alter Health Group™ is proud to serve people throughout California and beyond, with clients coming from across the United States.

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