SOMERTON, Ariz. – Monday October 5th is Blue shirt day which is the World Day of Bullying Prevention. Bullying is an issue in Yuma County as well as Arizona and across the country. A study by Yale University shows that people that are bullied are 7 to 9% more likely to commit suicide. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death according to the Centers for Disease Control and studies have shown that half of suicides in youths are a result of bullying.
The Regional Center for Border Health in Somerton is one of the founding organizations for the Yuma County Anti Bullying Task Force which also consists of several law enforcement agencies and school districts, founded in 2008. We spoke to Alex Valenzuela, the director of social services at RCBH, who explains that bullying is a very serious issue. He says that many people that deal with bullying may become bullies themselves and could suffer depression and other mental illnesses. He says that many of the recent school shooters we have had in our country have had a history of being bullied that resulted in mental issues that may have led them to hurt others. He says that it is vital to try and find the symptoms of someone that is suffering bullying, which may be that they no longer want to go to school are are falling behind with their grades. That is where the task force comes in to help. They try and bring awareness to the dangers of bullying and will sit down with those suffering to try and find ways to help them through it.
We spoke to one resident Kimbrly Ruiz, who says that her family has suffered the effects of bullying first hand. She says her granddaughter has been bullied and that her daughter went to jail for confronting the bullies parents, who called the police. She says the police didn’t even ask questions just arrested her daughter and nothing was done about her granddaughter being bullied. She says she is happy to hear about the task force and days like Blue Shirt day that bring awareness to bulling and give victims the ability to come forward and seek help.