DALLAS, May 21 (UPI) -- Media reports often use the term "bullycide" when a child or teen commits suicide linked to bullying but a U.S. psychologist says the term should be avoided.
Dr. Betsy Kennard, a psychologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Texas, says suicidal thoughts and behavior are often the result of multiple factors in a person's life and cannot solely be attributed to bullying.
"A teenager or child who is stressed, withdrawing or having relationship issues may be more tempted to consider suicide if they are also being bullied," Kennard says in a statement. "That's why if an adult notices bullying, it's important for them to address the problem."
If an adult suspects a child is having suicidal thoughts or behaviors as a way of escaping bullying and other problems, Kennard suggests:
-- Notify school personnel if bullying is identified.
-- Seek an evaluation from a professional. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are often linked to depression, which can be treated.
-- Listen to the child.
-- Help the child understand these feelings and thoughts are temporary and there are solutions.
-- Brainstorm on how the child can react to bullying.
-- If suicidal urges/behaviors are serious, take the child to the emergency room, don't leave him or her alone, and keep firearms, drugs and sharp objects away from the child.