Bullying can lead to suicide at any age

The case for addressing bullying across the lifespan becomes ever so stronger when we consider how these destructive behaviors can lead targeted children and adults alike to take their own lives.

Phoebe Prince, Suicide at Age 15

On Saturday, the Boston Herald ran this story by O’Ryan Johnson about the suicide of Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old girl in Western Massachusetts who was mercilessly bullied by fellow students, in person and online:

A “charming” 15-year-old girl who committed suicide in South Hadley days before a big dance was bullied after school, on her cell phone and on social-networking sites, her principal said in a heart-rending letter to parents.

Phoebe Prince and her mother moved to the quiet enclave in Western Massachusetts from Ireland about six months ago, a friend said. She was found dead inside her Webster Street home Jan. 14 following public spats with classmates over dating.

“Some students made mean-spirited comments to Phoebe in school and on the way home from school, but also through texting and social-networking Web sites,” wrote Dan Smith, principal of South Hadley High School. “This insidious, harassing behavior knows no bounds.”

Marlene Braun, Suicide at Age 46

Meanwhile, one of the ongoing rallying cries for the workplace bullying movement is the 2005 death of conservationist Marlene Braun, who committed suicide after a long course of abusive treatment at work:

The Workplace Bullying Institute is proud to assemble news reports, government reports, essays, and commentary to tell the hidden story of Marlene Braun’s May 2, 2005 suicide and the subsequent government attempts to obliterate her legacy.

It is a tale of an abusive work environment (akin to the traditional profile of bullying cases described at this website) that Marlene described as her inescapable hell caused by her tormenter, bully boss Ron Huntsinger, coupled with dramatic reversals in conservation policies by the federal government executed by Huntsinger and BLM as mandated by the anti-Clinton, anti-environment Bush administration. Huntsinger was promoted in the aftermath of her suicide in the spirit of “heckuva job brownie” incompetence rising.

Thank goodness such a drastic and hopeless response to bullying is not the norm.  But even one instance is too many.

***

For Help

If you find yourself or someone you care about at risk, please reach out for help.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached around the clock at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.

Article Links

“Bullying eyed in girl’s death”: http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1227606

Braun story from the Workplace Bullying Institute: http://www.workplacebullying.org/targets/impact/braun/braun.html

7 responses

  1. Pingback: Victims of workplace bullying turn to suicide. « The things that make me think!

  2. Pingback: Workplace bullying trial begins « The things that make me think!

  3. Thank you for mentioning the importance of workplace bullying. I had a job in an executive office that was a grooming position and have a disability for a large company. I am victim of a workplace bully boss. This person intimidated me, harassed me, mocked my disability and created havoc in my life. I eventually reported him to HR and internal investigations. The investigation concluded that my complaints were unsubstantiated. Yes, my co-workers lied to internal investigator, why would they corroborate my stories knowing they could be the next victim(s?) Eventually, the bully succeeded in having me terminated.

    My health and personality has not been the same. I used to be a gregarious and engaging person. Food doesn’t taste the same. I prefer silence to music (I have always loved music) and 18 months later I’m still unable to find a job and going broke.

    I can understand why a person would commit suicide. I still think of it during my darkest hours. What prevents me from suicide? I’m too stubborn to accept defeat by suicide and immediately focus my attention on people who have it far worse than me. That and I see a shrink. I reported this bully knowing full well that it would probably lead to my termination. I chose to report the bully anyhow. Sometimes, doing the right thing is not the easy thing.

    Don’t feel sorry for me because I went out kicking and screaming. Prior to being terminated: I told my employer, I was not going to quit my job and they would have to fire me. I warned internal investigations that people are a creature of habit and the bully would strike again. I sent an email to the CEO regarding this bully.

    Now, I’m hoping the Department of Labor does the right thing for me.

    p.s. The bully did strike again and this time four internal investigation complaints were initiated by persons employed after my termination.

    • I appreciate your sharing your story, as I’m sure that it helps others to know what you endured. It also appears that your sacrifice may have softened the way for future complaints being taken more seriously. I hope you are rewarded for that and your resilience with a turnaround of fortune. David

    • I feel conflicted about the people that watched me being being victimized and refused to speak out mainly because i have compassion for my fellow man. I could never witness such torture and close my eyes to the situation, therefore i no longer have respect for them and consider them cowards. i know that times are hard and jobs are hard to come by but, allowing bullies to thrive in the workplace cripples the entire environment and causes pain for everyone. bullies are poisonous and they infect everyone they come in contact with. what i dont understand is if we are so outraged, why are’nt we making more noise?

      • SHAME ON EMPLOYEES WHO DON’T SPEAK UP. BULLIES ARE SIMPLY EMPTY INSIDE INSPITE OF PRESENTING AS PERFECTIONIST WHO KNOW IT ALL. LET’S NOT LOSE PEOPLE THAT WE CARE ABOUT OVER PEOPLE WHO FEEL BETTER ABOUT THEMSELVES BY STEPPING ON OTHER PEOPLE.

  4. BULLIES ARE OFTEN ABLE TO GET BY UNDER THE RADAR BECAUSE THEY CAN BE SMART, CHARMING AND GOOD AT BROWN NOSING WHICH SUPERVISORS LIKE. HOWEVER, THE MORE PEOPLE THAT COME FORTH THE LESS DAMAGE THAT BULLY CAN DO. PLEASE REPORT OFFICE BULLIES NOT JUST TO BOSSES BUT TO HUMAN RESOUCES IN WRITING. MY CO-WORKER COMMITTED SUICIDE AND I WILL NEVER STAY QUIET ABOUT OFFICE BULLIES AGAIN!!!

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