National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence in the Murraylands on March 17

ISOLATION: Thirty per cent of children seeking support through Centacare in Murray Bridge are there because they are dealing with bullying.
ISOLATION: Thirty per cent of children seeking support through Centacare in Murray Bridge are there because they are dealing with bullying.

Thirty per cent of children and teenagers who visit Centacare’s Supporting Children and Youth (SCY) program in Murray Bridge are there because they are struggling with bullying.

In the past, the program has seen that bullying often leads to mental health challenges, such as anxiety, depression, self-harm, low self-esteem and social isolation.

In a national study in 2009, one in four year four to Year nine Australian students reported being bullied every few weeks or more often.

Tomorrow marks the seventh National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence, and Murraylands schools will pause to acknowledge the significance of social inclusion among students.

SCY manager Lynne Thorpe said the program was using the occasion as an opportunity to remind the local community to take a stand against bullying.

She said bullying can be particularly challenging for young people who live in regional areas.

“They are more likely to socialise, play sport with and live in close proximity to the perpetrator,” she said.

“It is very difficult for them to get away because it carries on into their life after school.”

“Our message to young people who are struggling because of bullying is believe in yourself because you’re worth it.”

Ms Thorpe said cyber bullying was the most common form of bullying which can also be in the form of verbal, physical and emotional abuse.

The impact of bullying can be more significant if the victim is already vulnerable, due to relationship breakdowns, domestic violence and other life challenges.

The National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence is led by the Safe and Supportive School Communities (SSSC) Working Group.

It aims to promote awareness within the community about the impact of bullying on children and provides and opportunity for Australian schools to highlight their everyday work to counter bullying and violence.

To access support through Centacare’s SCY program in Murray Bridge, contact 08 8531 8888.