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May - Pink Shirt Day

Friday 19 May is Pink Shirt Day and this is a day to come together and celebrate diversity bring attention to the challenges of bullying. Pink Shirt Day is a favourite of mine because it is about celebrating everyone’s differences. Unfortunately bullying is something that many of us will have experienced at least once in our lives. I used to suck my thumb as a baby, which resulted in me having huge front teeth like Bugs Bunny. Name calling and physical bullying become a big part of my primary school years. It wasn’t until I had braces and put on a bit of muscle at high school that it stopped. When we look at health and safety in the workplace, bullying is a real mental (health) risk and should be addressed immediately. Never be shy to find your voice and challenge inappropriate comments.

Bullying can negatively influence someone’s self-confidence and how they feel about themselves. Whether it’s in the workplace or at home, happening to you, a friend or family, it is important that we support those in need and stand up to the bully. Bullying is more commonly spoken about in childhood, but also exists in many workplaces. A supportive and positive culture starts at the top, so if you feel you have hit a brick wall with colleagues, try  going to the boss to get some action. If you or someone you know is being bullied speak up and support them.

In recognising and supporting Pink Shirt Day you are taking a stand against bullies and promoting kindness in everyone. In fact, I think we should have a “Be Kind” day to encourage more of this in a world that seems to have forgotten what kindness is. Some ways to incorporate Pink Shirt Day in the workplace is obviously encourage people to come in their best Pink Shirt, and also get together for a morning tea or lunch and reconnect with everyone in the workplace.

Find out more about Pink Shirt Day: www.pinkshirtday.org.nz

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