February is Anti-Bullying Month, but bullying is a problem that affects countless people year-round. Many Portage residents seeking rehabilitation treatment have either been a victim of bullying or have been a bully themselves, events that have, in some instances, ignited or fuelled their drug addiction problems. For this reason, Portage centres provide programming that deals with the issue of bullying, a significant hurdle for some residents to overcome on their journey towards sobriety.
Portage has a formal policy about bullying, including a prevention strategy and training for staff members on how to deal with it as it arises among residents. All residents participate in workshops on bullying, where attitudes and experiences are shared through discussions and activities, and they are made aware of what to do if they are involved in an act of bullying at Portage, or once they have left.
At the Portage adolescent centre in Saint-Malachie, we are in the process of further developing a series of bullying prevention workshops.
Portage Elora holds bullying awareness and bullying prevention theme weeks periodically throughout the year, during which the community engages in group discussions, role-playing games, and art projects on these themes. The staff members teach residents how to differentiate between bullying and normal conflict situations, as well as how to manage a bullying incidence as either a victim or a bystander.