KPLC special series: The trauma of bullying - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

KPLC special series: The trauma of bullying

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For the past two weeks, we've heard from bullying victims in Calcasieu Parish schools. We continue our bullying series by focusing on what it does to children, short-term and long-term.

It happens everywhere.

"Call me names," said one bullying victim. "Pick on me a lot."

"Everyone was like oh, you broke the floor with your face," said another.

It doesn't matter where you are or how old you are. Bullying is a part of today's society. For children, the consequences can be long-lasting.

"It can affect kids in numerous different ways," said Licensed Master Social Worker Mark Morris. "It can affect them with mental health complications or conditions. It can affect them with substance abuse issues. Suicide. Harming themselves. Violent, aggressive behavior."

In the Adolescent Behavioral Health Department at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, Morris and others deal with bullying victims daily.

"We're a crisis stabilization unit," Morris said. "Kids come in at a crisis level. We get them to where they're stabilized. Once we feel that they're stable, that's when they get to go home."

Children ages 4 to 18 go through intense inpatient therapy with their families close by.

"Whenever you're working with a kid, you have to work with the family therapeutic wise," said Morris. "Anytime you're working with a kid, the family has to be involved in that process."

Morris said the department is dealing with more and more bullying victims. It's not just name calling. Cyber bullying is coming to the surface. And often times it goes unreported.

"There's a lot of bullying going on Facebook," Morris said. "There's drama happening at school that carries over to either the social environment or the neighborhood and then also the social media as well."

Some children stay in the hospital for a week dealing with wanting to harm themselves or harm others. Morris said the emergence of bullying is a red flag for anyone in the mental health field, especially since it can cause long term mental illness.

"What are we doing to prevent it," Morris said. "That's what we're trying to get done. Whatever we can do as a society, as a community coming together and trying to prevent the school bullying. What's the school doing? What are the teachers doing? What's the administration doing? What are parents doing? What are the kids doing? What are we doing to help them in the mental health field as well?"

Next week, we'll meet another victim who just happens to be a sibling of Tanner Hantz, the high school student we met last week.

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