MASSAPEQUA PARK, N.Y. (FOX 5 NY) - All five of Bernice Simpson's children have experienced bullying to some degree, she said. Now, Simpson, who volunteers for the Long Island Coalition Against Bullying, hopes to provide families another avenue for support.
"As a parent, it was hard for me because my child didn't come to me, and that's a pretty common behavior," she said. "They usually keep it to themselves, they're embarrassed."
Doctors will wear pins that read, "Did you know you can talk to me about bullying," which encourages victims to speak up and ask for help, according to Sheryl Cohen, the southern New York regional medical director for PM Pediatrics.
"I think the approach is different because they can come to us," she said. "Maybe they're not even expecting us to be here and have this resource available."
A recent survey by the Long Island Coalition Against Bullying and Stony Brook University revealed that 84% of students would rather talk to their friends about bullying.
However, anti-bullying advocates want to include medical professionals in the conversation, too, because bullying could ultimately lead to depression or even suicide.
"We're in a society where more than half of kids today who experience bullying do not feel comfortable talking to an adult," said Joe Salamone, the founder and executive director of the Long Island Coalition Against Bullying.
Cards with additional contact information and resources are available at the following two PM Pediatrics locations:
- 5050 Sunrise Highway, Massapequa Park, N.Y. 11758
- 596 Jericho Turnpike, Syosset, N.Y. 11791