BEE HEARD: Stand strong against bullying

Photo Credit: Native Connections

We need your help to prevent bullying and cyberbullying. 

With school starting back up, there are many things to be excited about! Some students may also be anxious to return to school due to a history of bullying or other issues with peers. We want to ensure that our families and community members are aware of some tips on how to address bullying and help protect our youth from the negative effects of being bullied.  

Bullying can have negative effects and consequences on our youth’s mental health. According to the Indian Health Service, bullying is associated with approximately 10% of suicide completions in the United States. In addition, girls are more likely to have experienced cyberbullying than boys (26% vs. 16%).  

So how do we protect our youth?  

Cultural and spiritual connections are protective factors that help prevent and address bullying. Youth who feel more connected have greater respect for other living beings. Learning about what bullying is and skills to talk about how to address bullying is important as well.  

Bullying is not our Native way. Honoring ourselves and others is important to our culture. It’s very important to keep an open conversation with our youth and listen non-judgmentally when they voice their concerns and experiences. 

Ways we can prevent bullying: Be a good role model 

Regularly discuss bullying with your children and be sure they know it is a serious problem. If they are being bullied, let them know that it is not their fault and that you will be there to help them address the issue. This may include contacting the school, parents of the bully, and possibly law enforcement.  

Teach your youth the skills and language to use against a bully and what to do in a bullying situation. Keep in mind our youth look to us to model positive relationships. It is important to not engage in aggressive or bullying behaviors yourself and be aware of what message your teen is seeing and hearing from your own actions. Contact an elder, spiritual leader, or a professional counselor if you need some ideas to help your youth. 

 Ways we can prevent bullying: Know the signs 

  •  Regularly comes home with bruises and scrapes. 
  • Is often upset after school, extracurricular activities, or being on the internet/receiving texts. 
  • Randomly stops using the computer or cell phone. 
  • Seems depressed, sad, and/or frustrated. 
  • Has suicidal thoughts and/or attempts. 
  • Withdraws from friends/family. 

What if your child is being a bully?  

Set clear boundaries and consequences for bullying behavior. Let them know that bullying is not acceptable in-person, online, over the phone, or any other form. Seek out assistance from the school counselor or behavioral health resources. Tribal elders and cultural ceremonies can also help support both youth who are being bullied or those that are bullying others. Bottom line, we all are different and that is what make our community so unique. Teach our youth that differences are a good thing and bullying is not acceptable in any manner or situation.  

If you need to talk to someone, please reach out. 

It’s okay not to feel okay. If you or someone you know has been struggling with their emotions, behaviors, or substance use please reach out to us. We can help you find appropriate tools and services that could help you overcome obstacles in your life. We are here for you. Please contact the Southern Ute Behavioral Health Division or the Native Connections Program at 970-563-5700 for more information or to set up an appointment to see a counselor or therapist.  

You can also reach out to the Colorado Crisis Line at anytime, anywhere, for a mental health or substance use challenge. 844-493-8255 or Text “TALK” to 38255. You’ll immediately be put in contact with a trained counselor, ready to text with you about anything. 


Community is the Healer that Breaks the Silence, (2012). Stand Up, Stand Strong Retrieved from 

Local Resources 

Southern Ute Health Center- Behavioral Health Division, 4101 CR 222 Durango, Co 970-563-5700. For local Native Americans. We are here to support mental health, substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery. Please call to schedule an appointment to talk to someone.   

Southern Ute- Division of Social Services 116 Capote Drive, Ignacio, CO 970-563-2331 or for local Native Americans needing assistance with child welfare needs and family support.  

Southern Ute Police Department- Anonymous Tip Hotline Do you have information about a crime? 

Please call (970) 563-4999. This “Tip Line” was designed to allow you the ability to provide law enforcement with information, anonymously, if need be, regarding criminal, drug, or suspicious activity. The “Tip Line” is monitored around the clock by SUPD Investigators, but it DOES NOT replace 9-1-1 or the non-emergency police number (970) 563-4401. 

St Ignatius Catholic Church, Pastor Cesar Arras, 14826 CO-172, Ignacio, CO 970-563-4241. 

Ignacio Community Church, Pastor Randall Haynes 405 Browning Ave, Ignacio, CO (currently located inside ELHI) 970-759-3633  

Second Wind Fund of the Four Corners, believes that every child and youth at risk of suicide should have access to the mental health treatment they need. We match children and youth at risk for suicide with licensed therapists in their communities, 720-962-0706. 

Women’s Resource Center, creates personal, social, and professional growth opportunities for all women in La Plata County, 970-247-1242. 

State or National Resources- All are 24/7. 

TEXT or CHAT: People who text “TALK” to 988 will be connected to crisis centers equipped to respond to texts. Chat will be available through the Lifeline’s website: 

The Trevor Project which seeks to serve LGBT youth, has a 24/7 suicide prevention line at 866-488-7386. 

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