No Name-Calling Week

The 15th annual No Name-Calling Week is taking place this year from January 15th-19th. The inspiration for this event originally stemmed from a novel entitled The Misfits by James Howe, which tells the story of a group of students running for student council on a no name-calling campaign. A “No Name-Calling Day” was planned in the book, sparking the idea for Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing and GLSEN to organize the first annual “No Name-Calling Week” back in 2004.  Since then, the week has grown into a national event dedicated to activities and discussions aimed at eliminating bullying in schools and communities. A main theme of this week is “Kindness in Action,” defined by GLSEN as “actively adding kindness into our every action.”

NoNameCallingThe research showing the various long-term effects of bullying on children’s mental and emotional health makes it an important issue to tackle. However, bullying can also put youth at an increased risk of developing a substance use disorder. According to Frances M. Harding, Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at SAMHSA, middle and high school students who are bullied or bully their peers are more likely to use tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana. This emerging research explains why it is important for drug prevention and bullying prevention efforts to go hand in hand.

Recognizing warning signs is the first step in preventing the escalation of a bullying situation your child may be involved in. According to StopBullying.gov, signs that your child may be experiencing a problem with bullying include:

  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches stomachaches
  • Feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits (e.g., suddenly skipping meals or binge eating)
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

Click here for tips and resources to use when talking to your kids about bullying.