Bullying is a pervasive problem in Canada – facing individuals of all ages and of various backgrounds and abilities. November 15-21st is Anti-Bullying Week, or Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week. This year’s theme is “Stand Up! (to bullying)”. The Medical Station not only works to address the health & social implications of bullying, but also strives to foster a safe & inclusive clinic and workplace for our staff & patients.
What is Bullying?
Bullying is defined as a form of repeated, persistent and aggressive behaviour directed at an individual intending to cause fear, distress and/or harm to another person's body, feelings, self-esteem or reputation. Bullying is often thought of as a problem faced exclusively in childhood; at least 1 in 3 adolescent students in Canada have reported being bullied. Although the health & social implications for children can be especially damaging, it is important to be aware that bullying is something that an individual can experience at all ages and in a variety of contexts; a recent report found that 40% of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis.
Health & Social Implications of Bullying
Bullying can have serious health implications – physical, mental, and social – on the perpetrators, victims, and bystanders. Bullying is linked with negative mental health conditions including depression and anxiety. Physical manifestations can include headaches, stomach and GI problems, and suicide. Further, victims of bullying may be more likely to engage in substance use, have poor sleep and eating habits, decreased academic and professional success, and long term challenges with self-esteem.
The Medical Station Stands Up to Bullying
At The Medical Station, we create an open and safe environment in North York for patients to discuss their experiences with bullying. We seek to understand and work with each patient to mitigate the health and social effects they may be experiencing through providing medical care, support, and resources. We offer patients the opportunity to meet with a Social Worker who offers one-on-one support for families, children, or adults experiencing bullying or families with a child that bullies.
The clinic fosters an inclusive and respectful environment where everyone (particularly those who may be bullied or discriminated against in other areas) feels welcome. We ensure empathy and respect among our team members and in all our patient interactions.
It has been suggested that more than 60% of the time bullying stops when a bystander intervenes, and when peers intervene most incidents stop within 10 seconds. The Medical Station will work to actively stand up against any bullying we see or experience.