Recently, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) hosted a special visit with representatives from 13 countries to discuss bullying trends and prevention. We worked with the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). This professional exchange program hosts nearly 5,000 foreign leaders’ visits to the U.S. each year. They come to meet with their American counterparts. This visit’s theme was bullying prevention. In the U.S., 1 in 4 children and 1 in 5 adolescents are victims of bullying.
As a leader in federal bullying prevention efforts, HRSA, through our Office of Global Health (OGH), planned the event. There were fourteen participants from: Albania, Bulgaria, Cypress, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
The HRSA Administrator, and the Director of OGH, RADM Kerry Nesseler, welcomed the delegates. Representatives from HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the Department of Education (ED), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shared their expertise on bullying prevention.
Some of the information shared with the delegates included:
- The prevalence of bullying and cyberbullying in the U.S.,
- Who is at greater risk of being bullied,
- Findings from the Federal Commission on School Safety,
- Programs supported by HRSA, ED, and SAMHSA to address bullying, and
- StopBullying.gov as the “one stop shop” for federal bullying prevention resources.
The delegates shared with us their experiences in bullying prevention using anti-bullying social media campaigns, mainstream media outreach, and open society projects. While there were a lot of interesting ideas, two stood out: a) facilitating children to work in groups at school from an early age to promote mutual responsibility, and b) having instructors use the social media language that children and adolescents use.
HRSA previously brought national attention to bullying prevention as the host of the 2018 Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit to Prevent Cyberbullying, which featured the First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Melania Trump, as the opening keynote speaker.
The Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention, an interagency effort co-led by the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, continue to coordinate policy, research, and communications on bullying topics. The Federal Partners include representatives from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, the Interior, and Justice, as well as the Federal Trade Commission and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.