After the tragic death by suicide of 14-year-old Northern Territory girl Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett, Kids Helpline has reminded Australians to keep an eye out for signs of bullying.
As a young child Dolly was the familiar face of an Akubra marketing campaign, and she took her own life last week due to depression and anxiety caused by constant cyber bullying.
Kids Helpline has issued a list of the signs of self-harm, anxiety, avoidance that parents and teachers should look out for, including:
The Signs of a Child or Teen Being Bullied
- Unexplained cuts, bruises or pencil marks on the skin.
- Being quiet or withdrawn.
- Reporting vague headaches or stomach aches.
- Ripped, stained or soiled school clothes.
- ‘Losing’ lunch money or other things at school.
- Falling out with previously close friends.
- Being moody or easily distressed.
- Not wanting to leave the house or reluctance to go to popular places such as malls or parks (they may be trying to avoid the bully).
- Not wanting to go to school.
- Experiencing difficulty in sleeping at night.
- Becoming worried about a lot of things.
- Showing sudden changes in eating behaviour.
How to Help a Child or Teen Who is Being Bullied
- Let the child or teen know it is OK to talk about how bullying is making them feel.
- Assure them it is NEVER their fault and calmly give them space to talk about what’s going on. Sometimes it’s good just to listen before acting.
- Explain to them the power dynamic involved in bullying. Discuss ways to stop giving the bully power, for example, walking away or turning away from the bully.
- Reassure them that you will help to stop the bullying.
- Find out details: including what, when and where incidents happened, and if anyone was present.
- Contact the school or organisation where relevant, make them aware of the problem, and work together with them on stopping the bullying.
- Consider calling trained counsellors, such as Kids Helpline, a school counsellor or psychologist, or go to esafety.gov.au.
The Free Kids Helpline Service
The free phone and online counselling service Kids Helpline is available to all children and young people across the Australia anytime and for any reason.
It is Australia’s only free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for kids and young people aged 5 to 25. Head to www.kidshelpline.com.au or free call 1800 55 1800.
If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs support you can also call Lifeline’s 24-hour support line on 13 11 14.