IBPA discourages the use of the term, “bullycide” and addresses the complex relationship between bullying and suicide.
The link between bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide has generated much attention, and a new term has even been coined to describe a death by suicide when bullying has played a role. The term is "bullycide," and it is being used with increasing frequency. This term is misleading at best and harmful at worst. Here is why:
The term "bullycide" is inaccurate because it suggests that the person engaged in bullying (the bully) died by suicide. Yet it is primarily used to describe a death by suicide of someone who was bullied. So the term, standing alone, lacks sense and accuracy as it is frequently used.
More importantly, suicide prevention experts remind us that we need to be very careful about suicide in the media in order to avoid "suicide contagion." Suicide contagion refers to in increase in deaths by suicide in the wake of high levels of media attention and very dramatic publicity after a completed suicide. It stands to reason that bullying prevention experts who provide simplistic causal messages regarding bullying and suicide may also be contributing to a contagion factor by suggesting that suicide is a direct and common reaction to bullying - particularly if these experts speak to youth.
"A Discussion About Bullying and Cyberbullying" from the European Journal of Developmental Psychology led by bullying researcher, Dr. Dan Olweus. This article also features commentary from Sameer Hinduju and Justin Patchin from the USA, Ersilia Menesini from Italy, and Peter Smith from the UK. Download the full article.