Merck Manuals Focuses on Child Bullying

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Pharmaceutical company Merck is featuring medical information on the bullying epidemic through mid-October with online tools that explain the health risks to children and help identify the behavior to take steps to stop it.

The bullying information is part of the Merck Manuals, a medical reference book first published in 1899 that went digital last year. Merck said more than 350 medical professionals contribute.

“While the entire content of the Merck Manuals is always available online, what we decide to call special attention to on the landing page is dynamic,” said Editor-in-Chief Robert S. Porter, M.D. “We often look to highlight topics based on national observances and issues that have broad implications for society and public health.”

Pediatrician Dr. Steven Blatt contributed an article, “Bullying,” that provides statistics on prevalence in schools and defines the behaviors that can constitute bullying. Blatt, director of the Division of General Pediatrics at University Hospital of SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, also discusses what school officials should do when bullying incidents are reported or observed.

In another article, “Overview of Social Issues Affecting Children and Their Families,” Blatt wrote that bullying is among the “difficult topics” that parents and adults should discuss with children to help them deal with “embarrassing topics and dispel irrational fears.”

The content on bullying prevention awareness also includes a “What You Need to Know” infographic from StopBullying.gov, a website published by the U.S. government that provides information for adults on what they can do to address bullying in their communities.

Additionally, Merck posted a video last year on study results that show how bullying can leave lasting mental health scars and provides tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics on recognizing the signs of bullying.

Merck said in a statement Tuesday that data from the National Center for Educational Statistics indicates that more than one out of every five students reported being bullied during the school year. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, bullying not only contributes to academic problems for students, but also can lead to increased risk for sleep difficulties, anxiety and depression.

The Merck Manuals also include expert commentary, infographics, animations, video clips, health calculators and trackers and quizzes, as well as a drug interaction checker, pill identifier and guide to pronunciation of medical terms.