Stop Bullying Now, Pink Shirt Day and Winning at Mental Health

Updated: Aug 30


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> “ “People who love themselves don’t hurt other people. The more we hate ourselves, the more we want others to suffer.” ”

— Dan Pearce


How did we get to the point that we must set one day aside each year to be reminded that bullying, harassment and disrespect is wrong?


Why is it that in 2021 we’re still working hard to bring awareness to something that impacts our mental health?


What does it say about us when we’re afraid to speak out against hurtful and hateful actions in our schools, our homes, online and in our workplaces?

 

Pink Shirt day came alive when two boys and their friends in a small Nova Scotia town stood up for a grade 9 boy who was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt. They bought pink shirts and distributed them, making a clear statement that bullying was not Ok. The bullies disappeared.

 

Pink Shirt Day has become a worldwide phenomenon, drawing attention to the fact that bullying, harassment and disrespectful behaviour is never acceptable.


“Stop Bullying Now”

On February 24th, 2021, Call Time Mental Health asks you to join the movement.

Want to know more? We’ve put together some questions and answers for you!


Q. What is bullying?

A. Remember the schoolyard bully? Well, the workplace bully is the same, only older. The bully uses disrespectful, hurtful and aggressive behaviour towards an employee. The bully uses a variety of strategies to exert his/her power over an employee – this could be verbal, emotional and physical abuse, delivered in person or online. Rules and policies sometimes hide this bad behaviour but the damage to the person being bullied is huge.


Q. Who becomes a bully?

A. According to Valerie Cade, author of “Bully Free at Work – What You Can Do to Stop Workplace Bullying Now!”, children who are bullies often become adult bullies. Their ability to “put themselves in other’s shoes” is limited and it’s difficult for them to empathize or “feel” what others might

feel. They need to feel in control and exert power over others. Self-esteem and insecurity are huge and you, the person being bullied, is a threat.


Q. Are there different types of bullies?

A. Yes. Bullies can be in positions of power, such as a boss, your peers, clients/customers.


Valerie Cade suggested there are at least 5 bully styles:


Arrogant: these bullies are convinced they are amazing and should be admired. They struggle with self-esteem and worth and may not have much love in their lives. People are confused about them as they are charismatic and give the impression that they are brilliant leaders! Don’t compete with or criticize these bullies, especially if they are a boss or leader.


Manipulative: These bullies are masters at convincing others they are confident, warm, empathetic, feel guilt and regret for anything they’ve done. They gain your trust and then play a game of manipulation to get what they want – they may pit you against others. Persuasiveness is their greatest asset. It’s best to get support when dealing with this bully.


Dictator: Dictators are micro-managers and tell you what to do. They see the world as black or white and strive to be in control at all costs. Their fear is that control will unravel – and so will they. If you challenge the Dictator, you’ll lose. It’s best to play along and stay under the radar as much as you can.


Victim: These bullies are complainers who do not take responsibility for their behaviours. They don’t deal with issues directly and blame others for their lack of work. Appearing calm, these folks aren’t reliable and can’t be trusted to get things done. If you work with someone like this, set clear boundaries, document your work and let a trusted colleague in on what you’re doing and working on.


Suspicious: These bullies target people who won’t threaten their status and decisions. They don’t trust others, are secretive and always on the look-out for hidden meanings in actions and conversations. Self-responsibility? Not a chance with this type of bully. Inside they are scared and don’t trust anyone. Be clear and trust yourself – don’t let the suspicions of someone else get you to question your work or your motives.


Q. What do I do if I’m concerned that I might be a bully or use bullying behaviours?

A. Call your MAP/EAP and make an appointment with a counsellor.


Q. What can I do if I’m being bullied?

A. The following are a few ideas from https://bullyonline.org/index.php/bullying/18-what-can-i-do-if-i-am-being-bullied to help you decide what to do if you are being bullied. Always remember, you must be comfortable with the actions you take or are advised to take.


  1. Your health matters and is a priority. Be aware of the stress that bullying brings with it. Get support from friends, family and trusted co-workers.

  2. Document EVERYTHING! Keep emails, notes about what the bully said, what you said and what others may have done or said, and save any online conversations, pictures etc. If you’re bullied in private, Bullying Online suggests recording the meeting secretly.

  3. Everything a bully does is designed to control you. Remember, you can only control what you think, feel and do. As difficult as it is, try to remain calm and reasonable.

  4. Seek support and tell your manager (if not the bully), Human Resources, and/or your union representative what’s going on.

  5. Familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures in your workplace and don’t rely on others to take care of it for you.

  6. Be 100% fair and reasonable, even when standing your ground;

  7. Always maintain your dignity and be polite, even in the face of rudeness;

  8. If you can, have a trusted companion with you as a witness in any meeting to discuss bullying. If you don’t have a companion you can trust, make sure you have an audio recorder;

  9. Remember that everything you write, say and do might one day be discussed in a court or tribunal, so make sure your actions are beyond reproach and justifiable. Don’t do or say anything that you would not wish to repeat in public.

  10. Seek legal advice if you need to.

  11. Put your health and well-being ahead of everything else. There’s no shame in searching for another job or requesting a transfer to another area.


Q. I’m not sure if I’m being bullied or not. Is there an online assessment I can take to help me?

A. Yes, Valerie Cade has one you can take here: https://www.bullyfreeatwork.com/being- bullied-self-test/


Q. Where can I find out more information?

A. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has a guide for you to read:

https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/bullying.html

WorkSafe BC’s video about Workplace Bullying and Harassment is available:

https://www.worksafebc.com/en/resources/health-safety/videos/what-does-bullying-harassment-mean-for-you-and-workplace?lang=en


Bullying, whether it’s in person or online, is always unacceptable. Call Time Mental Health wants you to take a stand with us, not just on Pink Shirt Day, but every day.


If you Hear Something, Say Something. Taking a stand together, we all Win at Mental Health!

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