Louisiana high schoolers rank number one for both the most bullied state in the nation and the most attempted suicides according to a recent studies like “Project Know.”
Jan Daniels, Youth Development Coordinator with the Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana says local programs help prevent bullying, which is one of the leading causes of suicide.
“We really want to make sure that these kids know not to respond to a bully make sure you tell someone that you are being bullied, tell your parents, and the parents take action and make sure that they go through the correct channels in getting their children some help,” says Daniels.
Daniel says there are three ways kids should deal with being bullied.
First, don’t blame yourself, be proud of who you are, and do not be afraid to get help.
One unique program for anti -bullying starts with pre-k students at Burg Jones Elementary.
It helps them learn coping skills and problem solving techniques with a special puppet show twice a week called Al’s Pals.
“The puppets model, how things are suppose to be, how they are suppose to act and when they see, it helps them to also act that way,” says pre-k teacher, Julie Salter.
Daniels says students who are bullied are at an higher risk for problems like sleeping disorders, anxiety, and depression.
“If you have a friend that is suffering from depression or has made some suicidal threats you need to acknowledge the problem we want to act like we care and we want to tell a trusted adult. Don’t take the problem on yourself, seek help from a professional,” says Daniels.
Daniel says that there have been no reports of teen suicide in Ouachita Parish in the last seven years.
She hopes that anti-bullying awareness programs continue to keep teens safe and aware.