Update

Jun 30, 2022

I use my book and presentations to continue to deliver the message that bullying during school years can lead to devastating long-term mental health impact. It is true that it does not happen to everyone who has been bullied, but it does happen to many victims of bullying. We must continue to work hard to maintain a bully-free environment in all schools.

Even now there are folks out there who strongly support the idea that “bullying is not a big issue” and believe that all children must learn to defend themselves no matter what. Well, every child has a personality and they are not all the same. If a child is able to ignore the bullying and/or able to defend himself or herself, that is great. But there are many others who are not able to do so, and that is not their fault. It’s important that parents and school staff understand that they must focus on the fact that the school environment needs to be safe for “ALL” children, not just the ones who are able to take care of themselves.

The problem is that when a child is having trouble with a mental health disorder, it is not always visible outside. In my case, I was able to hide it for 5 years, and finally opened up when it became almost impossible to carry on with day-to-day activities. School staff must be trained to detect issues and must learn how to work with parents to help the students. If these students can get some professional help right at the time when they are being bullied, then it is likely that they will be able to avoid ling-term issues. Adults must keep in mind that for most children being bullied is an extremely stressful and traumatic event.

Jun 23, 2022

I have been receiving a lot of comments on my book titled “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer”. Interestingly, the comments cover a number of different aspects associated with bullying and harassment in the workplace.

First of all, from the comments I have received over the years since the publication of my book, it is clear that there are many people who have experienced workplace bullying and harassment, and have suffered because of it. I know that some people are able to either ignore it and move on, or just quit and get a different job. But there are many others for whom it has caused significant stress and suffering.

The comments fall into a number of different categories:

  1. There are many who have experienced significant workplace bullying and have had to deal with a lot of stress and hostility, and finally quit their jobs to find a different job because they did not know what to do or how to handle the situation
  2. There are some who ended up with various mental health disorders and ended up unemployed
  3. There are some who were able to ignore it and were able to go on with their daily activities
  4. There are some who apparently took some aggressive steps against the employer and were able to make a difference

The purpose of writing this book is to make the point that everyone has a right to be treated fairly in their workplace. But if they do find themselves in an undesirable situation, it is important for them to know what steps to take to defend themselves.

Jun 16, 2022

Over the last few years I have had many opportunities to speak about prevention of child sexual abuse at conferences around the country. These presentations of course have been based on my book titled “Father figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”. I am always excited about the opportunity to speak on this topic especially to school psychologists, school counselors, school social workers as well as to all caregivers who look after children. All professionals in these categories often have close contact with children, some of whom might be going through or facing abusive situations.

My book and presentation is all about intervention and prevention. All attendees will be exposed to the true account story in my book that focuses on the risks children might face and how one can intervene to prevent possible abusive situations. I typically focus on the following objectives:

Participants will learn how to become more effective in intervening and preventing situations that could lead to child sexual abuse, through multidisciplinary coordination.

Participants will develop a clear understanding of the kinds of changes needed in our systems to become more effective in “preventing” a possibly abusive scenario.

Attendees will also learn how to detect situations where immediate intervention is necessary and appropriate and what the associated legal issues might be.

Jun 09, 2022

After many of my speeches at schools around the country I often receive emails from students who are dealing with various mental health issues, often a result of being bullied. I always try to provide support and guidance and at times work with the school so the child receives adequate professional help. But it is clear that many children around the country are still experiencing psychological impact from bullying. It is a serious issue that requires continued attention.

It is also very clear that there is still a lot of stigma around someone having to deal with a mental health issue. I can relate to that very well since I had kept my own mental health issue a secret for five years. Now I encourage everyone to open up and talk about any mental health issues that they might be struggling with so they can receive proper treatment.

Children often do not open up about their mental health issues simply because they are not sure that the adults around them would be supportive and helpful. When I speak at a school setting, children get the message that I would be someone who would certainly understand what they might be going through and that’s why they reach out to me.

Both the school staff and parents have a significant role in this. It is critically important for school staff to provide adequate attention to children being bullied at school. There are times when I have been able to speak to parents about this. I try to make the point that parents should be careful not to minimize these issues, and instead, take it seriously and seek out adequate professional help for their children.

We need to continue our work in this area to remove this stigma all around so more and more adults will become receptive and understanding when it comes to dealing with mental health issues.

Jun 03, 2022

On many occasions I have had the opportunity to speak on the topic of prevention of child sexual abuse. This presentation is based on my book titled “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse” which describes a true account story. I have spoken to school counselors, school psychologists and social workers, school principals, child protection workers, child care providers, etc at many different conferences and professional events.  I have also spoken to parents and the general public at several community events. The presentation focuses on the numerous challenges involved in working with the “systems” in trying to prevent a situation that could lead to child sexual abuse.

Purpose of the presentation is as follows:

  • To describe a true account story that focuses on prevention of child sexual abuse
  • The story is about “intervention” and “prevention” and the numerous challenges faced in the process
  • To bring about an awareness of the associated issues that require immediate attention
  • To emphasize the fact that the challenges can be overcome if we are truly conscientious about prevention and are willing to work through a multidisciplinary approach
  • And finally, some comments about what could have been done differently in this specific case to promote a more preventive mindset

It is an extremely important topic because:

  • Child sexual abuse is a major issue even though we don’t really seem to want to talk much about it
  • It has been established through studies that even one episode can impact the life of a victim for many years

May 26, 2022

I have spoken at many conferences and community events about acceptance of diversity. I have also been a panelist and a podcast guest speaking about accepting people from different spheres of life. The contents of my presentations and discussions are typically based on my personal experiences as described in my first book titled “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder” as well as from my latest book titled “Minority Viewpoint – my experience, as a person of color, with the American Justice System”.

This presentation/discussion is focused on three key objectives – acceptance of differences in people around you, being kind and respectful to others as opposed to negative behavior such as bias-based bullying, and focusing on self-acceptance so you can achieve success in life.  It includes description of devastating long term impact of bullying that was based on non-acceptance of diversity. It also includes description of negative bias that any person of color might experience. The purpose of this presentation is to motivate everyone to respect others because mistreatment can cause serious life-long impact.

I share my personal stories to inspire everyone to be accepting of people irrespective of their differences and to be kind and respectful in their day-to-day behavior towards others. This discussion focuses on devastating long-term impact of mistreatment (or bullying) that is based on cultural/racial differences. When a person is mistreated because of differences in how he looks or how his name is spelled, the long term impact can be devastating.  During my discussions I use my specific example to make the point that any mistreatment (whether it is based on cultural differences or any other differences) can have similar negative results. My presentation describes my two decades of battle and recovery from obsessive compulsive disorder, a devastating mental illness, triggered because of this mistreatment, and everyone is able to relate to that. The presentation/discussion also includes description of negative experiences I have had over the years in everyday life.

May 19,2022

Over the years I have made several presentations on the topic of “long-term psychological impact of bias-based bullying”. These presentations were based on my first book titled “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder”. These presentations have always been well accepted by audiences from different walks of life.

My presentation emphasizes the fact that ability to accept differences in people and to promote unbiased positive interactions are key ingredients for overall success for all of us as a society. If on a regular basis a child is concerned about having to deal with negative issues/events/incidents because he or she is perceived to be racially ‘different’, it is simply not possible for the child to focus on important academic and social aspects of school life. If a child has to deal with such an unsafe environment on a continuous basis, the longer term impact can be devastating.

When a person is bullied because of how he/she looks or how his/her name is spelled or pronounced, it can create a major negative long-lasting impact for years to come. The purpose of this presentation is to describe a personal story that demonstrates how bullying based on cultural/racial differences can cause severe mental health issues for the victim, with a long-lasting impact that typically derails the victim from his/her normal developmental track. This is an extremely serious issue that often goes unnoticed and undetected during school years. Specifically, the presentation discusses the details on how prolonged bullying (based on someone being perceived as different) can trigger devastating long-lasting mental illness and how that impact can torment a victim long after the school years are over.

May 12, 2022

Over the years I have made several presentations based on my book titled “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”.  One of the topics of my presentations is “Prevention of child sexual abuse – role of a school counselor”. This presentation is based on the details described in my book which elaborates on the challenges in preventing child sexual abuse. In this presentation I focus more on how school counselors might be able to intervene to prevent a possibly abusive situation. School counselors typically have a good relationship with a lot of children and can at times be in a position to be able to help if a situation arises. The presentation is typically very well received by school counselors with a lot of follow-up comments and discussions.

One of the challenges I describe in my book is that our systems do not often respond adequately in a preventive situation, which means doing something “before” it happens, not after. If a school counselor detects a possibly abusive situation and reports to the “systems”, it is more likely that the systems will take some preventive action. In other words, a school counselor’s report will likely receive more attention than a report from an ordinary citizen.

School counselors and other school staff can have a key role in detecting and possibly preventing child sexual abuse. In the true story I describe in my book, it was a school counselor who detected possibility of sexual abuse and reported to the authorities, which eventually led to the arrest of the individual responsible for the abuse. That is why I try to make the point that school staff can have a key role and must keep their eyes and ears open for possible red flags.

May 05, 2022

Victims of childhood bullying can have serious long-term mental health impact that can lead to devastating outcomes such as suicide. We have to find a way to avoid these sad incidents. That is why I wrote my first book about long term psychological impact of bullying. Victims need help so we can avoid any life-changing devastating impacts in the future. It is very real and is still happening.

Many in our society today still do not believe that bullying is a real problem. It seems that many people do not seem to understand that every child has his or her own personality. And that is why bullying does not have the same kind of impact on all children. Yes, it is true that some children are able to ignore it and/or fight back and are able to minimize the impact on themselves. But there are many children whose personalities are such that they are not able to ignore the bullying and are therefore affected very negatively. It is our responsibility as adults to make sure that we have a safe environment for ALL children.

Affected children develop emotional issues that can escalate if not addressed in a timely manner. As I travel around the country for my speeches I have observed that many schools now have counselors, social workers, school psychologists who do understand the issue and try their best to help the affected students. The situation is much better than it used to be 30 years back. But we still have a long way to go. ALL children deserve safe environment and we need to do everything we possibly can to make that happen.

Apr 28, 2022

My latest book titled “Minority Viewpoint – my experience, as a person of color, with the American Justice System” is a gripping new true story about defamation against a person of color, by a white female hotel employee in the small northern MN town of Deerwood.

Following various undesirable events in 2016, I eventually had to bring a lawsuit against the hotel employee for defamation and surprisingly, the hotel in Deerwood supported her over me, their paying repeat customer, in spite of her untrue and unsubstantiated comments to the cops. The hotel’s insurance company paid ALL her legal expenses and hired top lawyers to defend their employee against me (while I had to pay my fees out of pocket). I eventually had my case dismissed much before trial, which I believe was primarily due to less than commendable representation by a prominent MN law firm. I provide details on what I believe were some of my lawyer’s errors and omissions which likely contributed to the undesirable consequences I derived from filing this case.

There is so much for the general public to learn from this remarkable true story. This book demonstrates to everyone, and especially to fellow people of color like me, how defamation can spread through a community, what can actually happen in a lawsuit, with cops, lawyers, law firms, and the whole legal system including lawyers professional responsibility board, and how to fight back against alleged racism and defamation without resorting to violence. It educates people of color on some of the unique risks we can face due to not being part of the white majority, and how certain environments may increase such potential risk factors for us. The book encourages all to do the right thing for the greater good regardless of the final result.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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