Medical & Mental Health Professionals
All of this nation’s major medical and mental health professionals associations have adopted policy statements indicating the importance of their involvement in addressing bullying and youth violence. It is also my opinion that such involvement is essential. To more effectively facilitate such involvement, I have created several documents for the medical and mental health community.
These are older resources and are being updated.
Proactive Approach to Address Bullying: A Guide for the Medical and Mental Health Community – A 22-page document that outlines the current situation with recommendations for effective steps forward, with 3 supporting resource:
- Screening Questionnaire that asks about bullying.
- Template Letter for a clinician to send to a school district raising attention to concerns.
- My Positive Action Plan document to support youth who are bullied.
How Pediatricians Can Help Bullied Kids – A 1,800 word article that can be reproduced for news letters. Other clinicians can feel free to change the focus from pediatricians.
How Medical and Mental Health Professionals Can Help Bullied Kids – A 900 word article that can be reproduced for news letters.
This document is an accessible and authoritative “must read” for medical and mental health professionals who treat children and adolescents. Nancy Willard’s approach to prevention and intervention is a refreshing and interdisciplinary critical analysis of the complex problem of bullying and includes an innovative call for student-centered solutions. She suggests that medical and mental health professionals can be catalysts for change in the lives of their patients who have been bullied, engage in bullying, or those who occupy the highest risk group – those in both categories. Included in this document are brief descriptions of the types of school-based prevention programs currently in place and realistic appraisals of their efficacy and impact in the lives on the psycho-social functioning of patients involved in bullying. Her legal advocacy tips may be particularly helpful when clinicians advocate on behalf of children with extra legal protections, such as those with emotional or physical disabilities or those in racial or sexual minority groups.
Information in this document will help medical and health professionals to play an important role in reminding school administrators of children’s rights, in addition to providing background to supplement a thoughtful and evidenced-based clinical approach the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and skills training. Willard sheds light on “hidden” bullying and definitional controversies that can help the clinician to better recognize bullying. The screening provided, while not yet tested, can be a useful supplement to a clinical assessment, particularly if it is used as a springboard for discussion of incidents of bullying. If medical and mental health professionals read only one document on bullying this year – read this one!
Steven Barreto Ph.D. , Clinical Asst. Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University