'I know kids who’ve self harmed due to bullying, and some who resorted to suicide'
Siobhan Harvey has witnessed first- hand the very real impact bullying can have on children and their loved ones.
As a Childhood Support Worker with the ISPCC, she works closely with children referred to her for a variety of issues – low self esteem, drug or alcohol use or other problems.
But one of the main issues she has experienced is bullying, and she says that at its most extreme it can drive young people to self harm or even suicidal thoughts.
“I’ve worked with young people who’ve self harmed due to being bullied and with people who feel their only way out is to consider suicide.
“It’s really sad, and it’s vital that a child be given the support they need.”
Siobhan’s work involves working closely with the child based on their specific case needs to develop the skills they need to get through.
“It’s really about listening to the child, helping them develop coping skills, letting them know they have a right to feel safe.
“Individual cases can be very different, but it’s about being consistent in their lives every week, about looking at how we can help change things.
“I also think it’s crucial to identify other individuals in their lives who are there, who will support them when we’ve finished working with them.”
She also feels third parties can have a huge impact in how bullying is addressed.
“We all have a responsibility: the bully, the person who is being bullied, but also the bystander.
“I’ve seen the hurt and damage it can cause. It’s every person’s responsibility to manage it, to do their part to help make it stop.”
The Sunday World has joined up with a host of stars to back a crucial campaign for Childline and the ISPCC.
Throughout the month of March, ISPCC’s Shield Anti-Bullying Campaign sets out to create awareness and raise badly needed funding to help combat bullying in Ireland.
How you can help...
The Sunday World is joining forces with stars like Hozier, rugby player Cian Healy, Bernard Dunne and top Dublin GAA players Alan and Bernard Brogan to back this crucial campaign for Childline and the ISPCC.
Throughout the month of March, the ISPCC’s Shield Anti-Bullying Campaign will create awareness and raise badly-needed funding to help combat an issue that impacts on children and families all over Ireland. Here’s what you can do to support this worthwhile campaign.
WEAR the ISPCC Shield Pin or Shield Bangle to support this important cause. The Pin costs €2 and will be available at M&S and Penneys branches nationwide. The Bangle − designed by Penneys − costs €2.50 and will be on sale in all branches.
BUILD AWARENESS by sharing and engaging with the stories of those who’ve experienced bullying and discussing the issue of bullying with your children.
DONATE to Childline’s campaign by texting the word SHIELD to 50300 to donate €2.*
* 100 per cent of your donation goes to ISPCC across most network operators. Some operators apply VAT, which means a minimum of €1.63 will go to ISPCC. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076680527