Schoolyard bullies could face the same risks of mental health and substance abuse issues as their victims, according to a new study by the University of Queensland.
More than 40 per cent of almost 1600 participants were found to have experienced some form of bullying, with victims and perpetrators both likely to suffer from depression later on.
“Just because the bullying has stopped doesn’t necessarily mean everything is going OK.”
Victims were found to have a higher chance of developing depression, anxiety or social withdrawal, while bullies have an increased risk of developing alcohol and other substance abuse problems.
Dr Scott believes teenagers who have experienced bullying should be monitored for warning signs of mental health problems.
“Every school should have a strategy in place to reduce bullying,’’ he said.
Brisbane Grammar School is well-known for its anti-bullying policy, which aims to involve students and parents.
Principal Anthony Micallef believes bullying is a multilayered issue and any measures to stop it require student input to be effective.
“We have an annual student welfare audit,” Mr Micallef said. “We have constructed our own survey for students to complete online and we collate that information.”
Mr Micallef said the advent of technology has led to new methods of bullying and it was important for schools to remain current with their anti-bullying policies.
“We have done a comprehensive analysis of the school and developed a policy that is reviewed every two years,’’ he said.
The Queensland Government has also become involved, commissioning a website to help promote awareness of bullying and prevent peer aggression in schools.
The study is timely, with the annual National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence to be held on March 21.
This article first appeared on the Brisbane Times on 16 January, 2014.