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Current Year Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Bullying and suicide - Expert comment available

For Immediate Release – October 31, 2012 (Toronto) – The recent death by suicide of Amanda Todd has brought discussions of bullying and suicide to the surface. Bullying can have prolonged effects on young people and has emerged as a serious public health issue.

Recently, Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) published data on the connection between suicidal thoughts and bullying victimization. The anonymous survey of students from grades 7 through 12 across the province found that 21per cent of girls who were bullied by peers at school also contemplated suicide at some point that year.  This percentage represents a staggering 31,800 girls, and is double the percentage seen among girls who were not bullied at school.

The survey also found a strong relationship between cyberbullying and suicidal thoughts. Twenty-seven per cent of girls who were bullied over the Internet had serious thoughts about suicide in the past year. This represents about 37,500 girls across the province. Girls who were bullied online were over three times more likely to have thoughts of suicide than girls who were not cyberbullied.

The data comes from CAMH’s Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS), the longest-running student survey in Canada, and one of the longest in the world.

CAMH has experts available to discuss research, prevention programs and the impact bullying victimization has on youth.

Available for comment:

Dr. Robert Mann, Senior Scientist, Public Health and Regulatory Policy Research, CAMH

Dr. David Wolfe, Director of the CAMH Centre for Prevention Science

Dr. Claire Crooks, Research Scientist at the CAMH Centre for Prevention Science

Media contact: Michael Torres, CAMH Media Relations, 416-595-6015; or by email at media@camh.ca

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The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in its field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. 

CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.

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