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Bullying and Mental Health

From the 15th to the 19th of November, it’s Anti-Bullying Week 2021, where schools and organisations across the UK get involved and raise awareness about the harmful effects of bullying.

This year, the theme is ‘One Kind Word’. The idea is that kindness is contagious and can be given to someone else; one kind word leads to another. Kindness is important now more than ever. Why not use Anti-Bullying Week 2021 to spread even more positivity and help us fight against bullying?

Who does bullying affect?

Although bullying is commonly thought to happen classrooms and playgrounds, anyone can suffer bullying, in any setting that has people or access to the Internet. While there is not currently a legal definition of bullying, it is often defined as harm caused by another person, whether it’s emotional, physical, or otherwise. The Office for National Statistics looked at data for English and Welsh children aged 10-15 for the year ending March 2020. They found that 19% of young people were cyberbullied. Over half of these children did not know the behaviours were bullying in nature, and over a quarter did not tell anyone.

Unfortunately, people who are different or diverse are often at higher risk of bullying. This could include people from different race or cultural backgrounds, or those with diverse gender identities, sexualities, physical health or religion. Furthermore, NHS England conducted research that indicated that young people with a mental health condition are approximately twice as likely to be a victim of bullying compared to the general population.

Effects of bullying

It is no surprise therefore that bullying has a colossal impact on mental health. A study published by Statistica Research Department examined 2020 UK data about people who had experienced bullying: 44% of this demographic reported feeling anxious as a result of bullying. Additionally, 36% felt depressed; 33% presented with suicidal ideation; 27% engaged in self-injurious behaviour; 18% avoided education; 12% developed an eating disorder; and 11% attempted suicide.

Bullying is unacceptable, damaging, and entirely unnecessary. If you have experienced bullying, know that it is wrong – and there is help available to you. You do not have to face this alone.

So, what can we do?

Schools and Organisations:

  • Develop a zero-tolerance culture towards bullying.
  • Provide resources, offer support, and take it seriously when someone raises an issue.

Parents:

  • Emphasise the importance and necessity of kindness.
  • Do not tolerate your child being hurtful towards others.
  • Be an example of kindness for them to follow.
  • If your child is suffering from bullying, talk to the school immediately. Keep a paper trail and copy in important staff from the schoolboard, making them more likely to action your concerns. Find mental health support for your child.

Yourself:

There are many resources and a wealth of support available.

Whether you’re a child, teenager, or adult, bullying can happen to anyone. And everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Visit https://bit.ly/DMBullying for our list of the support available for those experiencing bullying.

If you feel you need support for your mental health, talk to your GP or another mental health professional – or visit our information directories for a range of local mental health resources.

If you find yourself in a crisis, call 999 or The Samaritans free on 116 123. Dorset also has a 24/7 helpline called Connection, you can call it on 0800 652 0190.

Remember, you are not alone.

There are people and organisations out there who can support you and want to.

 

Our guest blogger:

Huge thanks to our Ambassador and Assistant psychologist Lucy for writing this anti-bullying blog

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