Girl suffers from depression after school bullying

By Le Nga, Quang Huong   May 23, 2023 | 09:07 pm PT
Girl suffers from depression after school bullying
A doctor checks on a patient at the National Institute of Mental Health at Bach Mai Hospital, May 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Le Nga
A schoolgirl in the northern Bac Ninh Province has been diagnosed with "severe depression" after being constantly bullied by her classmates.

Two weeks before she was admitted to the National Institute of Mental Health at Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi, Mai, 14, had stopped going to school, locked herself in her room and even tried to kill herself, Dr Do Thuy Dung of the institute said at a workshop on school violence on Monday.

Mai’s parents said she started having conflicts with a group of other girls in her class last year.

They constantly criticized Mai’s appearance and personality, sometimes slapped her on the face with her notebooks, and accosted her outside school to beat her.

They threatened further violence if she complained to teachers.

Mai used to tell her mother about what happened at school, but she had ignored it and told her to "handle it yourself," thinking it was "some childish issue."

After a while Mai started to change: She did not sleep well, talked and ate little, did not do well in school any more, and began to snap at family members.

Then she stopped going to school and locked herself in her room to cry.

After finding out that she had tried to kill herself by slitting her wrists, her parents took her to the institute and doctors there diagnosed her with "severe depression."

Dr Nguyen Hoang Yen, who specializes in child and youth mental health at the institute, said students who are bullied at school would "be affected immediately."

"They will be stressed and when stress lasts for a long period of time, it will result in sleeping disorders, emotional disorders and depression."

Tran Kim Thanh, a psychologist and director of the HCMC-based Happiness Coaching Center, said it is not easy for all parents to know if their children are bullied at school either because the latter are too scared to tell anyone or doubt if their parents could do anything to mitigate the problem.

She said parents should stay calm, study the problem to see who the bully is and why they are indulging in the bullying, and discuss the issue with the school to address the situation.

She also advised parents to communicate regularly with their children to gain their trust and teach them to recognize troubled kids and stay away from them.

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