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Tipsheet: Detecting Bullying and Risk of Suicide

Tipsheet: Detecting Bullying and Risk of Suicide

Bullying and peer victimization put adolescents at increased risk for suicide, especially when comorbid psychopathology is present. Findings from cross-sectional studies suggest the existence of differential risk profiles by sex as well as by the frequency and severity of the bullying: female bullies are at increased risk for suicide, even when their bullying is infrequent; males appear to be at increased risk for suicidal ideation, but only when they are bullied frequently.



School-based screening can be implemented using parent and teacher symptom checklists

Victims of bullying consistently exhibit more depressive symptoms than nonvictims

Victims have high levels of suicidal ideation and are more likely to attempt suicide than nonvictims

Mental health practitioners should understand the relationship between bullying/cyberbullying behavior and suicide

Assess childhood bullying using the child’s self-report as well as reports from peers, parents, and teachers

Children who are frequently involved in bullying behaviors should be screened for psychiatric problems


Offer psychoeducation about “healthy” online behavior; advise parents to supervise their children’s online behavior

Be cautious with awareness messaging making sure that it does not overemphasize the link between cyberbullying and suicide

The education system and school health care service in mid-childhood are of great importance for the early detection of bullying and prevention of later adverse outcomes

Familiarize yourself with techniques to stop bullying

Teach victims the behaviors needed to put an end to bullying

It is important that students understand that there is always hope to stop the situation

When adaptive coping skills and hope for change are not presented, students may feel powerless and hopeless, which increases their risk of suicide  


Bullies2Buddies: The Golden Rule System

Sources of Strength Suicide Prevention Program

A Fun, Poweful Technique for Teaching Children How to Stop Being Bullied by Doris Greenberg, MD, and Israel Kalman, MS

[Adapted from "Bullying and Suicide" by Anat Brusnstein Klomek, PhD, Andre Sourander, MD, and Madelyn S. Gould, PhD, MPH. This Tipsheet was originally published on September 12, 2013 and has since been updated.]

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