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Column: Important to recognize the signs of bullying

Pink Shirt Day focuses on anti-bullying, and will be observed February 22 this year.
Pink Shirt Day focuses on anti-bullying, and it will be held on Wednesday, February 22 this year.

WEYBURN - Bullying can happen to anyone. It can happen in the schoolyard, in an office setting, at a community event, or even at a more personal level in the home.

Pink Shirt Day focuses on anti-bullying, and it will be held on Wednesday, February 22 this year. Now an annual celebration marked in several communities across the nation, Pink Shirt Day came from a simple act of kindness that started at a grassroots level.

In 2007, Berwick, Nova Scotia classmates David Shepherd and Travis Price brought and distributed pink shirts after a student at their school was bullied for wearing a pink shirt.

During Pink Shirt Day, there are many guidelines and tips offered that help identify when a child is being bullied, and the day itself raises awareness on the programs and resources to those who feel bullied.

It is important to know how to recognize the signs of bullying, and report incidents that are concerning. After all, the support and reassurance to a victim of bullying can change their lives. Bullying can take different forms, including physical, emotional and social. 

Physical bullying is one of the most visual and easiest to notice, as it includes things like hitting, shoving, or tripping. It can be difficult at times to feel comfortable to report physical abuse, but taking action can save a life.

Victim Services works in partnership with the RCMP and municipal police services, as well as the community to provide the best possible services to victims during their involvement in the Criminal Justice System and to aid victims of crime and traumatic events by providing information, advocacy, support and referral.

Emotional bullying is harder to notice, as it includes the use of words to mock, shock, tease or ostracize another person. It can take longer to heal from emotional bullying, and sometimes one needs to seek professional help to heal from the wounds. If the emotional abuse is long-lasting, it can even lead to extremes, such as the thought of self-harm or suicide.

Social bullying is also difficult to notice, as it can include things like excluding someone from a group, spreading rumours, sending hurtful messages or pictures in texts, emails, or online. Cyberbullying incidents have increased in the past decade, and for victims it is a type of bullying that can happen anytime. It can also be difficult to prevent cyberbullying, but it is important to remember there are ways to report it.

The important thing to remember is that there are programs and resources available to those who are feeling bullied and might not have anyone to talk to. The KidsHelp Phone and Bullying Canada programs offer trained volunteers who are just there to listen, and here in southeast Saskatchewan, there are resources like Envision Counselling and Support Centre and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

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