BANGKOK – The chief of the Mental Health Department said on Saturday that children who are bullied in school can develop depression and become paranoid.
Dr Boonruang Trairuangworarat, director general of the Mental Health Department, was commenting on a report that sixth graders at a school in Lop Buri on Thursday poured alcohol on the shirt of a third-grade pupil and set fire to it, injuring the young boy.
Boonruang said physical bullying and mental bullying, by abusing, ridiculing or ignoring others, were common in school. And now, children are also bullied in online communities.
Boonruang said bullied children tend to develop depression, becoming sad, paranoid and lonely. They can also suffer from sleeping and eating orders.
He said these symptoms can remain until they become adults. Some of them turn to abuse and bully others when they grow up. They also have the tendency to break laws and abuse their spouses physically.
Dr Mathurada Suwanpho, director of child and juvenile mental health at Rajanakahrin Institute, said parents and teachers must advise children how to prevent themselves from being bullied. For example, they should be told to alert their class teacher and stay among groups of friends to avoid bullies. They should also be told not to respond to the wishes of the bullies.
She said parents and teachers must instill a sense of morality in children before they turn 10 so they will not bully others.