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Introducing Scotland’s anti-bullying service: respectme

Scottish Association for Mental Health

Monday, February 11, 2019

Part of the work we do at SAMH includes being the managing partner of Scotland’s anti-bullying service respectme. The harmful impact bullying has on mental health is well known; knowing how to change our environments to make them respectful places, where no one experiences bullying, is crucial to safeguarding mental health.

#ChooseRespect, is the latest campaign from respectme. The campaign aims to support professionals working with young people – teachers, youth workers, sports leaders and many more – to help create more respectful cultures in their settings. In a bid to help educators keep up the momentum of their anti-bullying work all year round, the campaign has just launched a new phase that encourages people to celebrate their differences.

‘Celebrating Difference’ seeks to address prejudice based bullying in Scotland’s schools and youth settings, and has been developed in collaboration with charities Show Racism the Red Card Scotland and Changing Faces.

The campaign encourages young people to build respectful relationships by celebrating the things that make individuals unique and challenging the prejudice that leads to young people being bullied and treated unfairly.

#ChooseRespect, respectmeBut what is prejudice based bullying? All bullying is about behaviour – which can take many forms – and the impact that behaviour has on a person’s feelings of agency and control. When that behaviour is motivated by prejudice against a child or young person’s actual or perceived identity, it becomes prejudice based bullying. Young people may experience prejudice based bullying relating to a characteristic unique to their identity or circumstance such as their appearance, nationality, sexual orientation or additional support needs, among many others.

Research shows that anti-bullying work that clearly addresses the particular needs of minority groups is more effective. There is a need to address the root cause of prejudice as well as effectively responding to incidents as they arise.

By celebrating our differences, we can help create cultures where every young person feels valued and respected; ultimately helping protect the mental wellbeing of children and young people growing up in Scotland.

If you or someone you know works with young people you can find a suite of free teaching materials and guidance to help young people build positive relationships on the respectme website.

For more information about SAMH visit samh.org.uk