Photo by Justin Criado

Highmark Foundation hosted a “Huddle Up Against Bullying” symposium Tuesday, Oct. 28. Dr. Anthony Mannarino (center with microphone) of Central Northside’s Allegheny General hospital participated in a panel discussion. 

By Justin Criado

The Highmark Foundation hosted the “Huddle Up Against Bullying” symposium Tuesday, Oct. 28 at Heinz Field on North Shore.

The day-long event featured several keynote speakers along with panel and roundtable discussions for healthcare, education and criminal justice professional s.

“We’re constantly trying to pull our resources together statewide and nationally,” Highmark Foundation president Yvonne Cook said.

The symposium was the first of its kind and dealt with raising awareness, prevention and detection.

Dr. Anthony Mannarino, who is the director of the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children & Adolescents, and vice chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Allegheny General Hospital, was part of a panel discussion titled “A Focus on Solutions” along with director of Parent Education Network Kay Lipsitz and PA Bar Association Pro Bono coordinator and Olweus certified bullying prevention trainer David Keller Trevaskis, Esq.

“I think it’s tremendously important that we’re able to bring and raise public awareness about bullying,” Mannarino said. “It may not be the case that all American kids are bullied, but enough American kids are.”

While bullying numbers very, Mannarino says it’s not as prevalent, but that doesn’t mean the impact isn’t as significant.

“Its impact can be serious to those who are deeply affected,” Mannarino said. “Fortunately most kids that are bullied are resilient or bounce back and are able to cope with the experience one way or the other.

“There’s a significant minority, about a third that are not. They don’t bounce back. They don’t cope well with it. They develop anxiety problem. They develop depression or post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). Those kids need help.”

About 17 percent or one in five children experience bullying, according to the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.

The difference nowadays is that there is more awareness and resources, according to Cook.

The foundation distributed educational materials provided by Center for Safe Schools and Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

More information can be found on the center’s official websites.