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When an individual, primarily a child or teenager, has been harassed or bullied by another and becomes despondent enough to end his life, this type of suicide is known as bullycide. The expression is taken from two words: bully and suicide. The growing concern over bullycide has prompted action from support groups and school administrators whose objective is to bring awareness to this issue. Bullycide also claims the lives of adults, although it is not as prevalent as cases involving minors.
Every year, statistics show escalating incidence of suicide among victims of harassment. In a large percentage of bullycide cases, the victims are children and adolescents. Children who find the constant teasing, threats, or other bullying impossible to cope with and consequently take their own lives have become the subject of great concern.
The connection between suicide and bullying has been documented in diaries. A suicide note left behind is often the evidence of a case of bullycide. Stories have also been told in books and interviews, often by victims' parents.
Neil Marr and Tim Field first contrived the phrase bullycide in a book their book, which chronicled the account of a victim who had been traumatized by bullying and resorted to suicide. Following that account, a large number of cases in the United States have been highly publicized by the media, in hopes of bringing about awareness of a growing issue among school-aged children.
The connection between suicide and bullying is not limited to school-aged children, however. There have been many reported incidents of adults who have committed suicide as a result of constant harassment in the workplace or in their private lives. Many of these victims had endured years or nearly a lifetime of bullying before choosing to end their lives.
According to the experts, bullies come from all walks of life. They are not limited to any age group or economic or social status. Bullies are present in every race and religion as well. The victims are also from all walks of life. Experts concur that bullies target those who are most susceptible and defenseless.
Many schools and college campuses have implemented awareness programs aimed at stopping bullying before it escalates into bullycide. By coordinating a program into a school's curriculum, teachers and administrators hope to exercise better control and supervision. There are also organizations and programs that can be found online. These coalition groups are organized as a means of support for parents and youngsters. They are also meant to educate the public on recognizing the warning signs of bullycide, and steps they can take to stop it.
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