SOMERTON, Ariz. – Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens, taking about 4,400 lives a year, according to the centers for disease control. Bullying is a big contributor in those numbers. In 2008 the Regional Center for Border Health formed the Yuma County Anti-Bullying Task Force with the goal of bringing awareness to the issue. All these years later Amanda Aguirre, the CEO of RCBH and founder of the task force, says it has been very successful in getting schools and law enforcement engaged in the issue. Today the task force is made up of RCBH, several local school boards and police departments as well as the Sheriff’s office and the Yuma County Board of Supervisors.
Russell McNair, a family nurse practitioner at RCBH, says that bullying can lead to many severe mental issues that could even lead to suicide. He says that in many cases the mental problems are harder to diagnose and cure than many physical injuries. For treatment he does recommend psychological counseling but says that the cure to the on going problem of bullying needs to be addressed at the school level.
To report bullying visit www.rcfbh.org/tips and you may remain anonymous if you choose.