Michigan hospital opens anti-bullying center

By Tony Briscoe and J.T. Bohland
Staff writers

Michigan was the 48th state to pass anti-bullying legislation, but it may be one of the first to develop clinical treatment for those affected by bullying.

William Beaumont Hospital, of Royal Oak, is expected to open a clinic to help victims of bullying, bullies, bystanders and families on May 4.

Kevin Epling, a major proponent of Michigan’s anti-bullying law, said the concept is on the cutting-edge of bullying therapy.

“I’ve not heard of anything like this taking place in a hospital,” said Epling. “Most of these are providers that parents would have to find such as counselors or someone at the general community health office.”

Dr. Marlene Seltzer, director of the No Bullying Live Empowered (NoBLE) Center, stumbled upon the idea while practicing gynecology through the years.

“I’ve always been interested in the psycho-socio issues of medicine like domestic violence, and gynecology has a lot of those type of issues in that field,” said Seltzer, who’s been an OB/GYN for nearly 16 years. “It wasn’t so far to go from domestic violence to bullying as an area of interest.”

Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, stomach-aches, headaches, insomnia, bedwetting and suicide are all potential consequences of bullying, according to Seltzer.

After hearing of a Florida teen being videotaped as she was bullied by several of her classmates, Seltzer said she knew she had to get involved.

“For some reason, that really struck a chord with me that we’ve gotten to a point in our society where kids beat each other up and post it on YouTube, and we are all just OK with that,” she said. “That put me on the path toward trying to do something about this issue.”

She contacted Alonzo Lewis, Beaumont Children’s Hospital’s vice president of women’s and children’s services, to discuss a solution.

“Wow, wouldn’t this be a neat project for us to launch,” recalled Lewis on his initial meeting with Seltzer. “(NoBLE) would bring some new patient volume to Beaumont and service a need that doesn’t have enough support in the community.”

Originally, Seltzer planned to combat bullying through a hotline, but she quickly realized that wasn’t enough. She said the NoBLE Center’s main goal will be to provide mental health services to youth (K-12) impacted by bullying through individual and group therapy. However, Seltzer said it will not directly prescribe medication.

Community outreach will be another vital area if the center is to meet its full potential.

“Beaumont already has relationships with schools in the area and so we’ll use those already established relationships to go face-to-face and meet with superintendents, principals, counselors and teachers to really explain the program and answer any questions they have,” said Seltzer. “So when they refer students, they’re referring them to something they’re familiar with.”

Lewis said that after hearing Seltzer propose the concept for the center, funding became the biggest concern. But thanks to the hospital’s support and several donations, NoBLE has secured about $350,000 as of March 30.

“So far, we’ve been very lucky to receive funds from the Children’s Miracle Network and also from Beaumont Children’s hospital,” said Seltzer. “We’ve had a private family foundation donate some money and we’re about to embark on a fundraising campaign. What we’re hoping is that this issue has unfortunately touched so many people’s lives but that people will want to do something and support us.”

The NoBLE Center, which will be on campus in the medical office building, is starting small, with four mental health providers plus Seltzer, and she hopes to expand depending on the need for treatment.

Although the project is in the early stages of development, Lewis said he’s confident about its potential.

“Beaumont Hospital is a leader in cardiovascular medicine, robotic surgery, transplant surgery… So, we’re a leader in all these sophisticated medical programs, and this type of program (NoBLE) positions us to be a leader, as well. I have no doubt that as soon as our program grows we’re going to get calls from all over the country in terms of ‘How did you make this happen?’ and ‘Can we use your model to develop a program or service in our state?’”

6 Responses to Michigan hospital opens anti-bullying center

  1. megan chavaux says:

    I have to say that I am a patient of Dr. seltzer and partners, first and foremost.I also am a mother of 3, in troy mi. and a victim of bullying. I would love to help out in anyway with this,since its a passion of mine to STOP bullying! I am dealing with a form of it now with my daughter in middle school.Bullying lives with people and affects people their whole lives. I would love to share my story and how it affected me and still does in a different way now as an adult. I believe I can offer kids or knowledge to others from my dealings with it. No one can fully understand and help 100% unless they went through what we victims went through. Please, feel free to contact me about this if I can help, or even shed awareness to others. These parents too, of the bullies need to also, take action instead of protecting their kids who are doing this. There has to be consequences to these bullies actions.Thank God, for the laws now and to this facility that will be opening.

    megan kirkland-chavaux of troy

  2. […] NoBLE VIDEO Michigan hospital opens anti-bullying center. […]

  3. shera osier says:

    This is amazing and I’m so grateful to see the “medical field/hospital” become involved in Bullying and the social welfare of our children. I think it takes, not only parents, teachers, school aids, ect to help disolve Bullying, but when you have multiple different career fields involving their organization, or themelves, it helps to attack the issue that much more intensely , and to help diminish the issue that much faster. I know first hand, the effects that Bullying can have on a child, and also the family of that child. Our daughter was severely bullyied her senior year in High School. (2011). It was a very severe case, we tried getting help from all angles, and from anyone we could. Unfortunately, the school didn’t do as much as they ought to. We had many trips to the police station, only to be told, “it’s on school property, sorry we can’t help you”. I wrote a letter to the State. We were doing anything in our power to prevent our daughter from resorting to what could have been “unchaged”. Thank God our daughter is still with us today. The Bullying has dramactially changed her life. I truly “Praise” Beaumont for seeing this issue as an imminent threat to the social welfare, physical welfare, and SAFE being of our children. THANK YOU !

  4. PTSDshock says:

    This is extremely significant because it creates further substantial awareness by the medical community that we are human beings and being subjected to consistent harassment creates irreversible damage mentally, emotionally and a tattoo on our spirit that could limit our entire life outlook and possibilities.

    This is not good because it removes the passion and optimism from citizens that could contribute positively to our community and world. We really must enforce and protect civility. We have enough of the opposite and should understand that it is erosive.

    The problem that I am having is where bullying has been recognized as only a kid issue. What about the horrendous violence provoking incidents that continue to go on with WORKPLACES. The adult parents of our children will go home downtrodden and harassed with no recourse as companies are allowed to skate liability due to lackluster laws that only protect harassment and cruelty based on protected class. I someone is demeaning, humiliating, stalking and harassing you with defamatory names, critique insults and even threats, the threshold of prove to prevail is insurmountable and the companies know it. Bystanders in these workplaces WILL NOT speak up and often take the side and participate in fear. It becomes a mobbing. HR is not a resource and companies will emotionally assault and allow the assault of workers calling it “employee meanness” and go to unethical lengths to intimidate and hush the target.

    The devastation to positive productive families is a domino of loss.

    It is an epidemic and we must publicize it and pass LEGISLATION THAT WILL ENFORCE REAL BOUNDARIES so that violence is not the only remaining option for a target.

  5. Brenda Thompson says:

    I am a staff nurse in a large Childrens Hospital and I am interested in getting this started in our facility. Where should I start? Any input is greatly appreciated!!

  6. Jean Nicklas says:

    This is really a great service to bullied kids. But victims of adult bullying (organized gangstalking) need support also. This is a crime that is taking place worldwide and I am being bullied non stop every place I go. Many people in Henderson and Las Vegas Nv participate in this non-reportable crime. Senior citizens to parents with children…businesses and all service related employees participate. When you try to explain their tactics it sounds really crazy because they use ordinary common gestures, along with color and number and word harassment. Skits of what they observe you doing, etc. Many victims won’t speak out for fear of retaliation. Many people are suffering. Please get enlightened and learn about this crime.

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