February 24 is Pink Shirt Day

February 24 is Pink Shirt Day

How Did Pink Shirt Day Start?

CKNW Kids’ Fund’s Pink Shirt Day aims to raise awareness of bullying issues, as well as raise funds to support programs that foster children’s healthy self-esteem.

On his first day of 9th grade, a Canadian male student wore a pink shirt to school causing some of his fellow classmates to bully and harass him for his clothing choice. This situation sparked two young men to organize a high school protest that involved the distribution of pink shirts for students and staff to wear throughout the entire school in solidarity with the bullied student. This simple but impactful stand of unity inspired others to join forces and spread the message that bullying and harassment should not be tolerated.

Pink Shirt Day is now a global movement with countries around the world organizing their own anti-bullying fundraisers, and engaging in more acts of kindness and acceptance. As the movement continues to grow in Canada, anti-bullying programs are expanding and supporting youth and children who are physically, emotionally, and mentally affected by bullying.

Evolved Forms of Bullying

With the world we are living in, bullying and harassment have evolved and made their way to intrude on places we think of as safe spaces including our homes. Cyberbullying through text messages and/or social media platforms can cause the same, or more serious physiological effects as physical bullying, such as increased anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and thoughts of suicide.

If you are online, you are at risk of being bullied by a person you know, or a total stranger.

A documentary called, Dark Cloud, tells the real and tragic story of what the severity of cyberbully can do to a person—and in this case, it looks at a Canadian teenager taking her own life because of the intense bullying she was receiving from classmates.

Dark Cloud illustrates the very real and long consequences of cyberbullying and shares insights into cyberbullying’s causes and prevention.

The documentary is used for educational purposes in middle schools to show the damaging and lasting effects adolescent bullying can have on someone’s mental health for the rest of their life.

Know that your words and actions, whether online or in person, do have major impacts on someone even if you can’t see them.

Culture of Acceptance

In certain situations, taking a stand against bullying and harassment can be a difficult step to take, especially if you might be alone in your stance. However, being that person that won’t tolerate the tormenting of another is very powerful and can inspire others to do the same.

By reaching out a helping hand to someone in need, you are strengthening the human connection that does not know any boundaries. Despite the possible difference in age, appearance, gender identity, race, religion, learning abilities—being kind and accepting others for who they are is always the right thing to do.

Do you know someone or have a friend who is being bullied? Let them know that they’re not alone, and speak out. When a bystander intervenes, most bullying incidents tend to stop.

I’m Being Bullied – What Do I Do?

Remember that you are not alone and do not deserve to be bullied.

Listed below are tip sheets provided by the official Pink Shirt Day website. They focus on ways to deescalate a situation without violent confrontation.

You can also confide in a trusted adult such as a parent(s), an older sibling, family member, neighbour or a counsellor.

If you need other supports, considering connecting with Kids Help Phone or Bullying Canada.

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7, national support service offering professional counselling and support to young people in both English and French. You can reach someone by calling 1-800-668-6868, texting the word CONNECT to 686868, or through Facebook Messenger.

BullyingCanada is Canada’s first youth-created anti-bullying charity. A trained volunteer is available for contact by phone or text at 877-352-4497 or email, support@bullyingcanada.ca.

Asking for help when you’re being bullied does not mean you are weak, it means you are taking the necessary steps to protect your overall well-being now and in the future.

Encourage your family, friends and classmates to support the anti-bullying movement by wearing a pink shirt on Wednesday, February 24!

Our Peer Support program services can be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at peer@cmha.calgary.ab.ca. Counselling programs for Suicide Bereavement and Family Support are also still available through phone at 403-297-1708, email counsellingintake@cmha.calgary.ab.ca or online through Community Connect YYC.

YouthSMART would like to thank Sagium and Kinsted Wealth for being our 2020 – 2021 website sponsor.