The recent death by suicide of Amanda Todd has brought discussions of bullying and suicide to the surface. Bullying can have prolonged effects on young people and has emerged as a serious public health issue.
Recently, Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) published data on the connection between suicidal thoughts and bullying victimization. The anonymous survey of students from grades 7 through 12 across the province found that 21 percent of girls who were bullied by peers at school also contemplated suicide at some point that year. This percentage represents a staggering 31,800 girls, and is double the percentage seen among girls who were not bullied at school.
The survey also found a strong relationship between cyberbullying and suicidal thoughts. 27 percent of girls who were bullied over the Internet had serious thoughts about suicide in the past year. This represents about 37,500 girls across the province. Girls who were bullied online were over three times more likely to have thoughts of suicide than girls who were not cyberbullied.
The data comes from CAMH’s Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS), the longest-running student survey in Canada, and one of the longest in the world.