February 28th is Pink Shirt Day.
Some readers may have heard of Pink Shirt Day, but do you how this day came to be?
In 2007 two friends, David Shepard and Travis Price from Nova Scotia, decided to take matters into their own hands after seeing a fellow male student bullied for wearing a pink shirt of the first day of school.
The two students bought 50 pink t-shirts and handed them out at their high school.
Before long, their anti-bullying actions gained attention by media, spreading the anti-bullying message across Canada and the globe. By 2012, the UN declared “Anti-Bullying Day” and today, is recognized in over 25 countries worldwide.
A lot has changed in the past decade when Anti-Bullying Day began.
Technologically speaking, bullying via social media is much easier. While remaining anonymous, a bully can verbally attack, intermediate, threaten or worse. Commonly referred to as “trolling”, bullying is a daily reality for a lot of people.
In recent years, we’ve seen a lot more people speaking up about their lived experiences of bullying.
Celebrities like Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, and Zayn Malik, just to name a few, have opened up about being bullied. Unique qualities that once made them feel insecure and different, were harnessed into a positive attitude and self-worth.
Of course, bullying isn’t something solely experienced by famous people, or young school children, resulting in years of individuals feeling alienated.
Unfortunately, the reality is that children, as well as adults experience bullying. Although adults are meant to be more understanding, empathetic and mature, the workplace can be a volatile environment.
From passive aggressive comments, patronizing attitudes, silencing concerns or ideas, diminishing the value of someones work, to unfairly questioning someone’s abilities — one or all of these can lead to a hostile work environment.
Having worked in unhealthy work environments in the past, I can firmly state that a negative work environment affected my mental health. As a goal-oriented, ambitious worker, I started to doubt myself and question my worth. I began second-guessing my judgement, unable make logical decisions, slowly down my own productivity.
It is likely that everyone has experienced bullying in their lifetime. If not from being bullied, then as the bully. The good news is, you can make a public stand on February 28th against bullying by simply wearing pink!
Recognizing the seriousness of mental health at work, last year’s World Mental Health Day was themed appropriately, Mental health in the workplace.
“During our adult lives, a large proportion of our time is spent at work. Our experience in the workplace is one of the factors determining our overall well-being. Employers and managers who put in place workplace initiatives to promote mental health and to support employees who have mental disorders see gains not only in the health of their employees but also in their productivity at work. A negative working environment, on the other hand, may lead to physical and mental health problems, harmful use of substances or alcohol, absenteeism and lost productivity.”
This upcoming Pink Shirt Day is your chance to become part of a growing international awareness campaign. Wear pink and make a clear statement on Anti-Bullying Day February 28th!