How to identify bullying impact before it’s too late

DENVER -- As suicide rates continue to climb, experts say now is the time for parents to take a good look at how they are communicate with their children.

Recognizing the warning signs of bullying is key to prevent depression and suicide.

It’s a problem that only seems to be getting worse for countless children throughout Colorado and across the country.

Middle school students in Denver talked Wednesday of the relentless attacks that start as early as elementary school.

RELATED: 10-year-old girl takes her own life after suspected bullying incident recorded on video

“Suicide rates have doubled in the past decade,” said Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, a Denver child psychologist who is an expert on bullying. “We have a very serious problem.”

She said every day an estimated 160,000 children in the U.S. stay home from school out of fear.

RELATED: Bullying prevention resources

To identify bullying warning signs, Ziegler provided a some tips.

  • Parents should look for changes in children’s sleeping and eating patterns
  • Know when children’s friendships are lost or change in some way
  • Connect to children’s social media accounts and know the passwords
  • Ask: “What was the high and low of your day?”

“Every day all of us experience something that was a low of some sort,” Ziegler said.

Experts said children -- not adults -- are usually the ones who first sound the alarm on bullying.

That knowledge is highlighting the need for schools to focus more on educating kids to speak up.

Ziegler said cyberbullying has the greatest reach and often happens without anyone knowing.

She warned many children will create secondary social media accounts parents are unaware of.