News 4 has started the conversation on bullying–looking at how pervasive the problem is and how it can leave deep scars. It’s a topic striking a nerve with lots of our viewers.
We take a look at one young Disney star, Demi Lovato–she’s an actress in the Disney Channel movie series, “Camp Rock.”
She’s been vocal about her experience with being bullied. Lovato has said her bullying past has left her dealing with mental distress. Lovato says, “I just don’t want anyone else to have to deal with that.”
But lots of kids deal with bullying–and now 18-year-old Lovato continues to deal with the mental scars bullying has left behind. Lovato has dropped out of a concert tour with pop band, The Jonas Brothers, to receive treatment for her struggles with an eating disorder. Bullying doesn’t always harvest itself into an eating disorder–but it can lead to bigger issues: like depression, sleep deprivation, anxiety, or self-mutilation.
I visited the Center for Hope of the Sierras–an eating disorder treatment center nestled in a Reno neighborhood. Executive Director Brandon Keppner says while each case is unique, the center sees patients’ struggles with eating disorders can often be tied to bullying–even if they don’t recognize it at first. “Sometimes if you just use the phrase “bullying” I essence it is bullying they’ll say “no” it’s not that. But then you’ll ask them what started it? And they’ll say some of the kids at school made comments and then they start second-guessing their own securities,” Keppner says. “And then it’s their own image and how they portray themselves and so they start trying to alter themselves because of things other people are saying.”
“That in an essence is bullying, but it’s just not always seen that way,” Keppner adds. The Center for Hope of the Sierras offers free assessments over the phone, and patients or friends & families can always call the center for resources.