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A bullying victim's mental health can be impacted long-term

Studies on the effects of bullying have already shown that getting picked on affects a child's mental health. During childhood, a bullying victim is likely to deal with depression and poor self-image, even to the point of being prone to suicide.

However, a recent study broke some new ground in that it drew a connection between childhood bullying an poor mental health as a young adult. While, anecdotally, this probably makes perfect sense, drawing a scientific connection between childhood bullying and mental health issues as an adult has been a bit elusive.

The study suggested that children who were victims of bullying had a higher incidence of needing psychiatric help in their twenties when compared with the average population. Among those who were not bullied, 12 percent needed such care, while 23 percent of childhood bullying victims needed help early in their adult lives.

Interestingly, those who perpetrated bullying behavior also seemed to require psychiatric help at a higher rate, 20 percent as opposed to the base rate of 12 percent.

It seemed that the younger a child experienced bullying, the more likely it was that he or she would require help. Among these children, 31 percent, almost 1 in 3, needed psychiatric treatment for some mental health problem before they were 30. Among other issues, these children needed treatment for conditions like depression, anxiety and habitual substance abuse.

If anything, this study only reinforces how important it is that society as a whole, and particularly the schools in and around Mobile, Alabama, take proactive steps to prevent bullying. A parent whose child has been a victim of bullying has every right to be concerned and may want to protect his or her child via legal means.

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