Friday, November 1, 2013

Bullying Prevention Awareness Month: How Student Involvement May Be the Key

In honor of Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, Jessica Burke, event and volunteer coordinator at the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, discusses the importance of awareness and prevention of bullying. 

I feel compelled to reach out to our AFA Teens about an issue that impacts nearly 30 percent of adolescents in the United States: bullying. As you may know, Bullying Prevention Awareness Month just ended, in October, but this is a conversation that should continue year-round.

Bullying continues to be a widespread problem during school hours; after school hours at clubs, ball fields, community centers and even on one’s own residential block; and on the Internet. Whether a student is the victim of bullying, or is the bully, the act of bullying can have a profound impact. Effects include depression, anxiety, and increased substance use.

The good news is that research shows active engagement in extracurricular activities and community activism helps reduce one’s exposure to environments where bullying occurs. This involvement also develops leadership skills in students who are more likely to safely intervene if they witness the mistreatment of others.

Participation in an activity like AFA Teens aligns with this research. We hope that this encourages you to get involved even more and to spread the word about AFA Teens so that your friends, peers and classmates will also join our family. AFA also encourages you to talk with your family, friends and educators about this important topic so that, together, we can increase awareness and prevention of bullying.

For information on bullying signs, prevention and reporting, please visit