Bullying and Self Harm – How do we teach our children to tell themselves “I’m Enough”?

Bullying and Self-Harm - I'm Enough focused on our Youth and their mental health when it comes to Social Media

Bullying and Self Harm. The phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” is one most of us have probably seen or heard at some stage in our lives. But have any of us ever taken a moment to think about what these words really mean?

While many Kiwis consider New Zealand a safe, wholesome environment in which we can raise our children largely free from worry, the sad truth may be that this is not the case. Unfortunately, there are some aspects of growing up in our schools that have a significantly negative impact on our children – one of the most consequential being the rate of bullying in Kiwi schools.

How does bullying within schools affect children in New Zealand?

The Education Review Office revealed that 39% of all schoolchildren in New Zealand reported being bullied at their current schools, the majority occurring in primary schools (46% of primary school children). Despite the many anti-bullying measures currently employed in our schools, however, the shocking statistics of ongoing bullying show that the strategies in place are simply not enough.

The fact of the matter is, over ⅓ of our children currently spend 5 out of 7 days a week afraid of what awaits them in the school halls, and that is not acceptable.

Self-harm and suicide: Two topics any parent fears discussing with their kids

Another difficult topic we must touch on in this discussion of our children’s welfare is that of self-harm.

One of the most shocking statistics of all is the fact that almost half of all high school students will attempt self-harm before graduating.

What we know about self-harm is that those who practice it do so largely to distract or compensate for emotional pain. What we don’t know, however, is how to properly help those of our children that engage in self-harm to seek other methods of self-healing. Part of this lack of knowledge clearly stems from the taboo that self-harm holds within our community – Ross Sinclair, former chairman of the Greater Wellington Secondary Schools Principals Association, describes self-harm as “the elephant in the room in secondary schools”.

Bullying and Self Harm – Our young people are turning to each other for support.

Because of this taboo aspect of the conversation on self-harm, our children are now turning to each other for help. In this age of digital and social media, the Internet is a unique resource allowing us to communicate with others across the world, providing a platform from which our children can connect with other kids who are going through similar struggles.

While it is good that they are seeking help, with the digital world as it is, there is potential for our kids to engage with others in ways that are a detriment to themselves.

What can we do to help our kids cope with bullying, self-harm and suicide?

The questions that stems from this discussion on bullying and self-harm are as follows:

  • How do we, as the generations leading our children into the future, help them to love themselves, and consider themselves “enough”?
  • How do we teach our children to seek help in the right places, and how do we provide the help they need, without our kids having to resort to taking matters into their own hands?

Mother, company director and advocate for the safety and wellbeing of children in New Zealand, Cathy Mellett, summarises the ongoing worries of a Kiwi mum in her address to all parents with concerns for their children in response to the subject of self-harm and suicide:

“As parents, if we become aware that people are having those discussions [surrounding self-harm and suicide], what do you think we should be doing?
I have two thoughts on this. The first is, if you become aware of a child that is having suicidal thoughts, my suggestion would be to reach out to that person’s parents – but that’s a hard thing to do. On the other side, the second option would be for you to have a no-holds-barred discussion with a school counsellor. Make an appointment in confidence, and go and take your thoughts and care and concerns to that school counsellor. Why?” I believe as adults we have a duty of care – not only to our children, but to the children our children connect with, and the communities that we are a part of. And therefore, I would suggest that we take action.”

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Mellett goes on to advise that there are two ideal options to select from when considering how to help a child that you know of that is considering self-harm or suicide. The first would be to get in contact with that child’s parents – although it is “a hard thing to do”. The second option would be to have “a no-holds-barred discussion with a school counsellor – make an appointment in confidence, and go and take your thoughts and care and concerns to that school counsellor”.

Ultimately, the only choice that will be able to help a child going through thoughts of self-harm or suicide is to provide them with the means to get better. From our standpoint as adults in our community, we need to teach our kids how to help themselves, and what to do if they have a friend who is thinking of hurting themselves. We need to provide them with better resources in schools, so that no matter which school a child attends, they have the tools they need to get better.

It takes a village to raise a child. Children in New Zealand are everyone’s concern. If we hope to build a brighter future for our kids in which they do not have to live in fear of bullies or consider hurting themselves, we must work collectively to make the world they grow up in a better place.

If you have any valuable insight to share, please reach out to us via our I’m Enough Website

You may also enjoy viewing the following video on How to be a Good Friend.  #HelloToKindness #ImEnough #StartTheConversation

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If you think that any emergency is going to happen or someone is at risk of harming themselves or other people then just dial 111. However, if it is not an emergency, then there are several other helpline numbers that will get your friend in touch with people who are efficient in handling such situations with utmost care.   Emergency Lines.

Emergency and help lines

APP – MyRivr
Description:

Everyone knows someone in need, whether it's a family member, a school or work friend, an associate or someone that you meet as you are going about daily life. Perhaps you do not know where to find help. MyRivr uses your location details to be able to provide you with the exact service providers close to you should you need support or need a nearby agency.

About MyRivr

As an ex-cop and gang member, Akerei (Rei) Maresala-Thomson has spent time witnessing the struggles and challenges of the New Zealand community

After 12 years serving with the NZ Police, Rei resigned from his role as Senior Sergeant in Charge of the Pacific, Ethnic and Asian portfolio for Counties Manukau in March, 2017.

He has made it his mission to continue confronting issues, and trying to improve Pacific wellbeing in NZ – but this time he is using technology.

Rei is now the Technical Advisor for free app MYRIVR, a self-funded and volunteer managed concept from the community which was developed and released in 2015 by Corefusion Limited as MASA (Multi-Agency Services Application) to assist in a successful trial with Counties Manukau Police.

MYRIVR is now NZ’s largest in-app directory of community services, enabling visibility and instant access to more than 20,000 helpers and over 7,000 health and social services around the country.

Website Address: Click Here
New Zealand Police Call in emergency 111
Description:

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

Website Address: Click Here
Kidsline
Description:

Kidsline is New Zealand's original telephone counselling service for all kids up to 14 years of age. Kidsline operates from 4pm to 6pm Monday through to Friday. When kids ring they will speak to a Kidsline buddy – a specially trained teenage telephone counsellor.

Website Address: Click Here
Youthline
Description:

Need support or want to talk? Contact Youthline.

Free Text 234

Email: talk@youthline.co.nz

Website Address: Click Here
Lifeline
Description:

Lifeline's telephone counselling service provides 24 hour a day, 7 day a week counselling and support. Calls are confidential and free and you will speak to a trained Lifeline counsellor.

Phone: 522 2999 (within Auckland)
Phone: 0800 543 354 (outside Auckland)

Website Address: Click Here
Keeping Your Kids Safe Online
Description:

Information for parents on creating a safe online learning and social environment for your children at home.

Website Address: Click Here
Netsafe Cyberbullying
Description:

Information and advice about cyberbullying for young people, parents and teachers.

Website Address: Click Here
Police Kia Kaha bullying programme for schools
Description:

Kia Kaha is a school-based programme that aims to help schools create environments where all members of the community feel safe, respected and valued, and where bullying cannot flourish.

Website Address: Click Here
Depression helpline
Description:

Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 (to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions).
This includes includes The Journal online help service.

Website Address: Click Here
Depression helpline
Description:

An online e-therapy tool provided by the University of Auckland that helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed.

Website Address: Click Here
Sexuality or gender identity helpline
Description:

Provides confidential telephone support.
Helplines for children and young people

Website Address: Click Here
Sexuality or gender identity helpline
Description:

What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds).
Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm.
Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.

Website Address: Click Here
Depression Helpline 24 hours a day
Description:

Depression Helpline (8am to midnight) Phone: 0800 111 757

Samaritans Phone: 0800 726 666

Suicide Crisis Helpline Phone: 0508 828 865

Alcohol and Drug Helpline
Description:

Alcohol and Drug Helpline – 0800 787 797 or online chat

Website Address: Click Here
Family Violence Helpline
Description:

Are You OK – 0800 456 450 family violence helpline

Website Address: Click Here
Gambling Helpline
Description:

Gambling Helpline – 0800 654 655

Website Address: Click Here
Anxiety
Description:

Anxiety phone line – 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY)

Seniorline
Description:

A free information service for older people
Phone: 0800 725 463

Wellbeing Service
Description:

0508MUSICHELP – The Wellbeing Service is a 24/7 online, on the phone and in-person counselling service fully funded by the NZ Music Foundation and provided free of charge to those in the Kiwi music community who can't access the help they need due to hardship and other circumstances. Call 0508 MUSICHELP.

Domestic abuse helpline
Description:

Shine – 0508 744 633 confidential domestic abuse helpline

Smoking cessation help
Description:

Quit Line – 0800 778 778 smoking cessation help

Vagus Line
Description:

Vagus Line – 0800 56 76 666 (Mon, Wed, Fri 12 noon – 2pm).
Promote family harmony among Chinese, enhance parenting skills, decrease conflict among family members (couple, parent-child, in-laws) and stop family violence

Women’s Refuge Crisisline
Description:

Women's Refuge Crisisline – 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE) (for women living with violence, or in fear, in their relationship or family)

Shakti Crisis Line
Description:

Shakti Crisis Line – 0800 742 584 (for migrant or refugee women living with family violence)

Rape Crisis
Description:

Rape Crisis – 0800 883 300 (for support after rape or sexual assault)

Website Address: Click Here
Warmlines for consumers of mental health services – Canterbury and West Coast
Description:

Free peer support services for people experiencing mental illness or those supporting them
Canterbury and West Coast – 03 379 8415 / 0800 899 276 (1pm to midnight, seven nights)

Warmlines for consumers of mental health services – Wellington
Description:

Free peer support services for people experiencing mental illness or those supporting them
Wellington 0800 200 207 (7pm–1am, Tuesday to Sunday)

Warmlines for consumers of mental health services – Auckland Central
Description:

Free peer support services for people experiencing mental illness or those supporting them
Auckland Central 0508 927 654 or 0508 WARMLINE (8pm to midnight, seven nights)

Mental Health Crisis Helpline
Description:

Mental Health Crisis Helpline - 0800 800 717

Depression
Description:

Depression and anxiety affects us all differently.
Free 24/7 Helpline: 0800 111 757 Text 4202

Website Address: Click Here
Lifeline
Description:

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland

Youthline
Description:

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat

Samaritans
Description:

Whatever you're going through, call us any time on 0800 726 666.

Website Address: Click Here
Suicide Crisis Helpline
Description:

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds).
Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.

Kidsline
Description:

Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age. Open 24/7.

Sexuality or gender identity helpline
Description:

thelowdown.co.nz – Phone: 0800 111 757 or email team@thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626

Website Address: Click Here
Supporting Families in Mental Illness
Description:

Supporting Families in Mental Illness - 0800 732 825.