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Standing up against bullying

Thousands of New Zealanders will be wearing pink tomorrow for Pink Shirt Day.

Global bullying prevention campaign Pink Shirt Day is here.

Today, thousands of New Zealanders will wear their pink shirts with pride, spreading aroha and kindness and encouraging others to speak up and stand together to stop bullying.

People from schools, workplaces, communities and whanau will stand together to Korero Mai, Korero Atu, Mauri Tu, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson says Pink Shirt Day is a great opportunity for all New Zealanders to take a stand against some of the bullying behaviour that they witness at work, in schools or out in the community.

He says the definition of bullying is that it is deliberate, it involves a misuse of power in a relationship, it is usually repeated or has the potential to be repeated over time, and it involves behaviour that can cause harm.

“If you witness this type of behaviour, we encourage you to awhi/support the person being bullied, or if it’s safe to do so, remove them from the situation altogether.

“Too often this behaviour is not stopped, but it’s time we stepped up and called time on it.”

Shaun says bullying can impact people’s mental wellbeing, leading to an increase in depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

“Diversity in Aotearoa needs to be celebrated. Unfortunately, homophobic and transphobic bullying directed at LGBTQIA+ communities is all too prevalent. Rangatahi/youth are telling us that this kind of bullying is really common.

“We need to speak up, show that it’s unacceptable behaviour, and stamp out this sort of bullying.”

The money raised through previous Pink Shirt Day campaigns has funded InsideOUT to run rainbow workshops and programmes for a number of years to help create more inclusive schools.

It’s something Shaun says the MHF is very proud of.

Workplace bullying is also prevalent in Aotearoa, with 1 in 10 workers admitting to being bullied on the job.

The latest Pink Shirt Day workplace bullying prevention resource provides information on how to build and sustain a bully-free workplace.

“The research tells us that workplaces that prevent bullying have strong and well-communicated policies, their leadership team show a commitment to preventing bullying and will intervene if it occurs, they have positive communication and they see diversity in the workplace as being something to be really proud of. Our workplace bullying prevention resource covers this and is designed to help New Zealand organisations walk the talk.”

When these actions happen, a workplace will flourish and bullying will reduce.

Shaun says there’s still time to get your Pink Shirt Day t-shirt in selected Cotton On stores across Aotearoa.

“Wearing a Pink Shirt Day t-shirt sends a powerful message to your peers, colleagues and whanau, and it’s a way of showing people who are being bullied, or have experienced it before, that they are not alone.

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