April Morris, LCSW, provides outpatient therapy for adolescents and adults age 16 and over. She uses a multi-faceted trauma-informed therapy approach including a variety of therapy techniques. She enjoys working with clients from all walks of life, and is honored to join them on their mental health journey and help them build skills to adapt to life challenges.
Host Tim Unsinn:
Welcome to Mind Your Mind, a podcast presented by Dakota Family Services an outpatient behavioral health clinic located in Minot, Bismarck and Fargo, North Dakota. In this podcast, I will talk with our experts about understanding and nurturing our mental health and wellness. I'm your host, Tim Unsinn. Join me each episode as we explore the intricacies of our minds, decrease the stigma of mental illness, learn practical tips for managing our mental health and well-being, and recognize when it's time to ask for help. Join me now to Mind Your Mind. Welcome to this episode of Mind Your Mind. Our guest is April Morris. April is an outpatient therapist in Fargo and provides therapy for those over 16, primarily adults. April. It's great to have you on mind your mind.
Thanks for having me.
Host Tim Unsinn:
Our topic today is bullying. However, before we get to the topic, there's a question I ask all of our guests before we begin. Why do you do what you do?
Of course, that's a hard question. I was thinking about it and I kinda like to teach and I like to learn, so teaching new skills and walking with people on their journey, and I'm always learning stuff from them. It's really humbling and rewarding to play a role in their story.
Host Tim Unsinn:
April, our topic is bullying. There's a lot to be said about bullying. So first up what is and is not bullying.
Sure. So bullying is kind of about control. It's intentional, aggressive, negative, and unwanted behavior that is usually repeated over and over, over time. There's physical, verbal and psychological bullying; and cyber bullying is the new big thing right now, too. So there's a lot of different ways people can be experiencing that. I guess I wanted to just clarify what's not bullying. I think can be hard to differentiate what is normal peer conflict and what is bullying and also what is harassment and what is bullying. Just wanted to mention those differences too. Just to clarify with harassment versus bullying, harassment is very specific to age or race or gender. Normal peer conflict, right? That usually they, there's only occasional occurrences and both sides can have their agreement or disagreement versus being really one-sided in a power control.
Host Tim Unsinn:
How common is bullying?
I'd say it's pretty common. Everyone has a short, a story to share, right? That's kind of been a theme here, whether they've personally experienced it or whether they witnessed it. Some of the data is 15 to 25% of American students have experienced it. 20% nationwide and actually 40 to 50% to cyber bullying statistics. So that's, you know, pretty staggering right now. And this is just people that have experienced it, not counting people that have witnessed it. When you think about the bystanders too, that's a big piece here.
Host Tim Unsinn:
And my next question for you, I'm gonna be asking about how does it impact mental health. So I guess I would have two questions in that. How does it impact mental health for the bystander as well as the person that's being directly impacted, or are they very similar?
That's a good question. I think we have all seen the impacts to mental health, to the person experiencing bullying, right? Like depression, anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem impacts their academic achievement. And it can even lead to some health-related concerns, right? But there is some data out there that shows long-term effects for both people that are engaging in the bullying behavior and the bystanders. So the bystanders are more likely to be impacted by negative peer pressure, engaging in smoking, skipping school, things of that nature. And those that are engaging in the bullying behavior also struggle long-term with social relationships, drugs, alcohol, and getting in a lot of trouble.
Host Tim Unsinn:
You are listening to Mind your Mind. Our guest is April Morris. April is an outpatient therapist in Fargo, providing therapy for those over 16, primarily adults. And today we're talking about bullying. So what to look for if your child is being bullied and how to address that.
So some things to consider when you're looking for this would be, you know, are they refusing to go to school? Are they afraid, afraid to ride the bus? Are they getting headaches and stomach aches? Are they not sleeping well. Any changes in their eating habits, things that they normally like to do if they normally like to go play basketball and now they're not interested, changes in grades, right? We're, we're looking for changes in behavior here. What we can do about it. It's, it's really about communication. You know, making sure that your child knows that they can come to you to talk about what's going on and that you're being really intentional in your conversation, not just "How's your day" It's "Who did you play with?" "Who'd you sit with on the bus," "Who do you eat lunch with?"
And that can really kind of open a little more conversation. I think that's really important when you're trying to look for it. When you've identified that your child is being bullied. I think a big piece here, right? As a parent is we want to march and go do something right away. And we got to refrain a minute because we really want the child to know that they're just being heard and we can't problem solve all the time for them. We want to just kind of talk with them and encourage them. "What Do you think you could do, right? What are your options? What do you do then? What do you do next?" And yes, absolutely. Talk to a teacher when it's appropriate. And if you have to escalate to a principal, please do that. And any time there's a threat to physical violence threat, that should be escalated right away, but we really want to equip children on how to, to handle the scenarios for themselves. We also don't want to make it worse. Right?
Host Tim Unsinn:
I think that's a great point of as being proactive as parents, we want to be able to have conversations with our kids. And even before we see signs of bullying, it's the regular normal day-to-day conversation with our kids. So that's a great point. Thanks for that one. That's when I see light bulbs going on everywhere, conversation with our kids, imagine that that's awesome. So what to look for, what to look for now, as far as our children, if they are bullying others and how do we address that?
If you're noticing that they're just aggressive towards others, their siblings, neighbors, just really aggressive behavior that they feel like they need like a need for control, if they lack empathy if they don't take responsibility for their actions, when they get in trouble or just frequent fights and getting in trouble at school, right. We're kind of noticing some, again, changes in behaviors. I think it's important in these situations. And this is kind of my personal point, is that just make sure you're spending quality time with your child and letting them know that they have your love and attention. And oftentimes when kids act out there's an unmet need there, and we just have to figure out what it is. And sometimes there's so lack of communication and other skills on how to express what they need, what they want, how to get it appropriately, right. And just teaching them the basics too, the empathy and just importance of their actions on other people and empathy with kids is huge. Right? Making sure that they really would know, okay, what would this be like if you experienced
Host Tim Unsinn:
Lots of great information on bullying, what to look for, what to look for in our kids and talking with our kids, great conversation pieces. At some point, we'll do a bullying session as far as adults, that will be soon to come. So be ready for that one. As we wrap up, I have one last question for you. What do you do personally, to mind your mind?
I like to stay active with my kids. I like to spend time at the Lake, really, anything outside. I just really find it peaceful, refreshing. With small kids. I don't get a lot of downtime. So, you know, self care is when I can fit it in usually after bedtime, when it's my downtime.
Host Tim Unsinn:
Our guest on Mind Your Mind has been April Morris, April outpatient therapist in Fargo, providing therapy for those over 16, primarily adults. April again, thank you for spending time with us on mind your mind. Thank you for joining us for mind. Your mind, a podcast presented by Dakota Family Services. You can't have health without behavioral health. Remember to Mind Your Mind. For more information links, to additional resources, contact information, and much more go to Dakota Family Services.org.
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