New research from American Academy of Pediatrics finds link between mental health and bullying

A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Association Between Mental Health Disorders and Bullying in the United States Among Children Aged 6 to 17 Years,” has found that children diagnosed with mental health disorders are three times more likely to be identified as bullies. Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder are six times more likely.

The findings are based on the mental health and bullying data of the nearly 64,000 children included in the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health. 

“‘These findings highlight the importance of providing psychological support not only to victims of bullying, but to bullies as well,’ said study author Frances G. Turcotte-Benedict, MD, a Brown University master’s of public health student and a fellow at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, RI. 

“‘In order to create successful anti-bullying prevention and intervention programs, there certainly is a need for more research to understand the relationship more thoroughly, and especially, the risk profile of childhood bullies.'”

Polaris’s system for children and adolescents, which is currently used in the public and private sector, can assess for trauma and behavioral health issues. The system may be used to predict those students with a propensity for bullying and/or being bullied, and flag those students who have mental health needs that should be addressed.

Polaris believes that by identifying problem areas before they manifest as violent or self-destructive actions, schools can take earlier proactive measures –rather than having to be reactive. 

Perhaps just as important, the Polaris system offers youth a voice to safely express their concerns, as well as their strengths, and to help ensure they do not fall through the cracks. Additionally, Polaris’s system for youth may be used to provide clinical feedback on the effectiveness of bullying counseling and analysis on interventional strategies.

Polaris is seeking one or more schools to pilot Polaris-Youth as a part of their bullying prevention/intervention initiative. To find out more about the system, visit /polaris-youth/. To inquire about joining this important project, send an e-mail to