Bullying expert on 12-year-old girl’s suicide: – Absolutely tragic

Bullying expert on 12-year-old girl’s suicide: – Absolutely tragic

– This is a very dangerous story and a warning for the school, society and parents, Lars Mihlom tells Dagbladet.

The professor is one of the nation’s foremost researchers in the field of suicide and heads the National Center for Suicide Research and Prevention.

On Thursday this week, Dagbladet reported that the parents of a 12-year-old girl reported to the police the principal and owner of the school – the municipality – at a school in southwestern Norway. The parents believed that the girl had been subjected to widespread bullying at school, and that in doing so the school had breached Chapter 9a of the Education Act. The girl committed suicide earlier this year.

– It’s very tragic, says Mahloum about the suicide of the 12-year-old girl.

According to him, there are few studies documenting the relationship between bullying and complete suicide among children between the ages of 10 and 15 in Norway, because it is very rare for children of this age to commit suicide.

Don’t understand: Children haven’t fully developed their emotional lives, and they don’t always understand the scope of what they’re doing, according to suicide researcher Lars Milom. Photo: Nina Hansen/Dagbladet
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– This does not mean that there is no connection, but it often relies on insights about correlation from individual cases and observations. In the case of self-harm and suicide attempts, which are more frequent, we see a clear association with being bullied, Melhem says.

declares:

Bullying is a known risk factor for suicide. The risk may be related to bullying as serious psychological trauma, and is a known risk factor for suicidal behavior.

More young people are experiencing suicidal thoughts. According to statistics from Church SOS, “suicide” tops the list of topics brought up by young people who connect to their chat service. 9,758 of those who contacted Chat SOS in 2022 had suicidal thoughts.

Bully Compensation: - Should be easier

Bully Compensation: – Should be easier


Difficulty regulating emotions

Mehlom asserts that bullying that occurs over a long period of time can cause a child to have problems regulating or dealing with bad emotions. Although most teens can have a lot of emotions and change their feelings, get angry or happy quickly, they usually learn how to deal with it.

—but if you were bullied at that point in life, and it happened over a long period of time, it could destroy the natural ability to regulate emotions, calm oneself, and believe it will pass or “I’m probably fine.” One could simply become Emotionally unstable for a long time. It is a risk factor for suicidal behavior, says Mahloum.

He asserts that all children have different vulnerabilities towards bullying. Some kids are tougher, while others are more sensitive and can more easily suffer serious psychological damage from bullying.

Mehlom notes that children may have difficulty understanding the range of actions they take to harm themselves:

– When it comes to suicidal actions in children, there are probably many who do not fully understand the dangers of the method they choose.

Children are often more impulsive, in part because their brains are not fully developed. Nor have they always experienced that hard things usually pass.

Serious psychological problems

Clara Overland is Associate Professor at the Center for Learning Environment, University of Stavanger and Principal Consultant at RKBU-Vest, NORCE. She believes that there are significant dark personalities when it comes to mental illness as a result of bullying.

Don't always share: Kids who struggle with suicidal thoughts don't always share what they're thinking, stresses bullying expert Clara Overland.  Photo: Nina Hansen/Dagbladet

Don’t always share: Kids who struggle with suicidal thoughts don’t always share what they’re thinking, stresses bullying expert Clara Overland. Photo: Nina Hansen/Dagbladet
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Bullying can cause serious psychological problems later on. For those who suffer from it, it can have serious effects on their ability to deal with thoughts and feelings and their functioning in daily life, she says.

Associate Professor Overland says that bullying undoubtedly carries a risk of suicide, but that this is better documented in international research.

– In Norway, we have individual suicides where bullying is part of history. It is very tragic what happened to the girl.

Overland explains:

Children and young people can have very strong reactions to bullying. It can be anxiety, depression, trauma reaction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Children are our most important thing and we must prioritize action to stop all forms of bullying and prevent suicide.

Half bullied

One shows that bullying can traumatize children as much as violence in the family previous study From the National Knowledge Center on Violence and Stress (NKVTS). Of the 4,000 children who were referred to the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic (BUP), about half reported being bullied.

One Study from the University of Stavanger From 2012 it found a high incidence of trauma symptoms in those who had been bullied. 33 percent of eighth and ninth graders who reported being bullied developed symptoms of PTSD, according to the study.

Psychologist Overland explains that some young people choose suicide because they feel powerless.

Some people plan suicide, while others do it out of impulse. With children and young adults, Overland says, we must prevent and follow through on procedures and treatment, before this deadly and tragic event occurs.

She confirms that there is help available in the specialist health service and in the school health service, but believes there is still a lack of provision when it comes to follow-up after bullying.

Many continue after experiencing abuses such as bullying when they get support afterwards, but many struggle long into adulthood with psychological consequences, says Overland.

- Everyone was involved

– Everyone was involved


Bully sign

It can be hard to spot young people experiencing suicidal thoughts, but Overland says they sometimes change their behavior, withdraw, and isolate themselves.

– There are also those who can get a little excited before attempting suicide. It’s a devastating solution, but they can seem a little excited because they’ve made up their minds, says Overland

Children do not always report being bullied. Signs could be that they want to be alone, avoid friends or family or they can get frustrated or angry easily.

Some have trouble keeping up with their schoolwork, because negative events take up a lot of cognitive energy. Overland says they also tend to miss school.

Lars Mehlom calls for more investment in suicide prevention.

Suicide prevention among adolescents and children is often about reducing risk, or about putting them in a mental “seatbelt”. This means that we must protect them from the effects of the many risk factors they face, both from extreme stresses and also from normal stresses, so that they do not die from it. Then it is important that we protect children from bullying, he says.

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