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October 25th, 2010 by Dr. Phil

Bullied to Death

cyberBullyIf you think cyber bullying isn’t really that big of a deal, or just kids being kids, let me throw a few facts at you: More than 40 percent of kids in this country say they’ve been bullied on the Internet, and 35 percent say they have received online threats. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, cyber-bullying victims are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide compared to those who have not endured such bullying. Since 2003, at least a dozen young people between the ages of 11 and 18 have killed themselves after some form of cyber bullying.

The Dr. Phil show has been inundated with letters and calls from kids desperate to escape these keyboard bullies — omnipresent, electronic stalkers who go after them day and night, destroy their reputations, if not their lives, and then log off their computers and disappear. For every sickening cyberbully incident you read about — such as the suicide of Rutgers University college student Tyler Clementi, after he learned a roommate had allegedly videotaped his sexual encounter with another young man and streamed it live online — there are at least a half dozen more that never make headlines.

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May 28th, 2010 by Dr. Phil

The Suicide Crisis

NSPILogo_lgOn the show and on this blog, I’ve talked a lot about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a free, 24-hour hotline that provides access to trained counselors for those going through the hardest of times. Last year, the Dr. Phil show worked with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to intensify suicide prevention efforts during the economic crisis, as more and more people are grappling with job loss, foreclosures and debt.

I’m so proud to announce that all of our efforts are paying off. This week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a report saying that more people are becoming aware of the Lifeline and its 147 call centers. The year-over-year increase in suicide prevention hotline calls rose by almost 15 percent between 2008 and 2009. The report directly attributes the increase in calls to the Dr. Phil show and to Internet providers who are promoting the Lifeline. For instance, Google now posts the Lifeline’s toll-free phone number at the top of the page when users type in “suicide” or “kill myself.” Also, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube are now providing information about the national hotline. (more…)

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April 4th, 2010 by Dr. Phil

Teens under Pressure Update

NSPILogo_lgI’m happy to share with you the following letter that the Dr. Phil show received from John Draper, Ph.D., the director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, informing us that with the broadcast and re-broadcast of our show “Teens under Pressure,” substantially more callers sought crisis assistance from the Lifeline’s national network of more than 140 call centers. The day the show aired, the Lifeline had a 45 percent increase in calls over the previous week.

I’ve always said that we use this show as a platform to make a difference, and this news just reminds me of why we do this. We were very sensitive to the research-based requirements those in the media need to adhere to when reporting on teen suicide. The “contagion effect” presents unique challenges in responsibly having a much-needed discussion about this critical issue. Those guidelines and others that parents can use in talking with their own children can be found on DrPhil.com. (more…)

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March 31st, 2010 by Dr. Phil

Justice for Phoebe?

bully1'You may know that I’ve been on an intense crusade against teen bullying for the last several years. Right now, I am outraged! Bullying takes many forms. It happens with both boys and girls, on playgrounds and school buses, and now with cell phones and computers, there’s cyberbullying — omnipresent, electronic stalkers who can go after their targets day and night.

What’s happening before our very eyes is scary, and we are seeing sickeningly tragic results. Case in point, the recent heart-breaking and outrageous story of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince. Sadly, this is not an isolated story, as I have dealt with many heart-breaking stories of unchecked bullying many times over the last several years, some resulting in death. (more…)

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March 11th, 2010 by Dr. Phil

Teens under Pressure

prayIf there’s one thing I can count on when Maggie The Wonder Dog and I come in to the studio each day, it’s that my inbox is going to be jammed with thousands of  e-mails about parenting. I get questions about curfews, discipline, tantrums — you name it. I take all of your issues seriously, but I’m especially concerned when I get letters from parents who fear that their child is on the brink of taking his or her life.

As much as we hate to think about our loved ones choosing this tragic behavior, death by suicide is on the rise. In fact, it’s the third leading cause of death among teens. Sixty percent of teens say they’ve thought about it, and nine percent of high schoolers admit that they have attempted it at least once. I’m convinced that so many teens today are under great pressure — pressure to succeed, pressure to get the best grades, pressure to be accepted to a “name brand” college — and too many of them are burning out and making self-destructive decisions. (more…)

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