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How Bullying Can Affect a Person’s Mental Health

14th Aug 2019

Bullying is a huge problem across the world. While it may seem easier to simply brush off an episode of bullying as an unfortunate incident and perhaps see that the bully is reported to an authority, it’s important to understand that bullying can affect a person’s mental health.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always acknowledged during school. The bully is usually punished (if the victim is ‘lucky’) and then both are allowed to go about their day. Rarely are victims talked to regarding how the act of bullying can affect their mental health.

If we don’t teach our kids how bullying can influence their mental health, then it could leave wounds that last long into adulthood. If you have ever been bullied or are raising children to send to school, it’s important to learn about how bullying can affect a person’s mental health.

What Is Bullying?

Bullying, as defined by stopbullying.org, is aggressive behavior among school-age children that exhibits a real or implied imbalance of power. There are a number of ways that bullying could be displayed:

  • Verbal bullying. Verbal bullying can include things like name-calling, insulting, or threatening another individual. During verbal bullying, bullies can intimidate or psychologically interfere with another person’s well-being.
  • Social bullying. Social bullying can be a bit harder to identify because it involves the bullies manipulating their social circle to the disadvantage of someone else. This could include things like excluding someone from attending events or talking behind their backs, spreading rumors.
  • Physical bullying. Physical bullying is the most obvious and aggressive form of bullying. Someone who is physically bullying another may actually attack them, but they could also physically bully them by throwing objects (such as rocks or paper), tripping them, or otherwise putting them at risk of harm. Spitting on someone or breaking their possessions would also be considered physical bullying.

All forms of bullying are serious and can have a lasting impact on a child’s state of mind.

How Can Bullying Affect Me or My Child?

There are a number of effects that bullying can have on an individual. Because of the aggressive, imbalanced power of a bullying encounter, an individual may leave feeling disheartened or discouraged. Even a single bullying encounter can cause issues like:

  • Low self-esteem. Bullying, especially social bullying, can lead to someone developing a distorted self-image or low self-esteem. This would come from believing that their peers didn’t like them, didn’t want them around, or otherwise viewed them in a negative light.
  • Being bullied at a young age can cause people to develop fear towards other people. They may become uncomfortable or wary of others who look, sound, or act in a similar manner as the person bullying them did.
  • Anxiety and depression. Being bullied during your formative years can cause you to develop a long-term anxiety or depression problem that could require therapy.
  • Self-destructive behaviour. Many bullied individuals develop patterns of self-destructive behaviour, such as drinking, doing drugs, smoking, or self-harming.

It’s important to note – especially for parents of bullies, and children who are bullies themselves – that being a bully can actually lead to psychological problems for the bully themselves.

  • Bullies often have a hard time forming meaningful relationships during their life
  • Bullies are more likely to develop drug and alcohol problems
  • Bullies run the risk of getting bad grades in school

In Conclusion

For both the bully and the bullied, there is nothing good about bullying. In fact, the process of bullying can lead to long-term psychological trauma for both the victim and the bully. Many people have had to seek therapy to help repair some of the damage done by bullies.

Author Bio

Eric Silver has been helping a close family member learn to cope with depression for nearly twenty years. Over the years, he’s developed a passion for mental health awareness. Mr. Silver has researched and written extensively within the mental health area, specifically in regard to bi-polar, depression, stress, and anxiety issues. You can follow his writing at E-counseling.com, where he is an editor.

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Need to talk?

If you are being bullied or are concerned about someone who is, you can receive help and support from one of our trained Mentors through our e-mentoring service.

If you would like a Mentor to email you, please contact: mentorsonline@bulliesout.com

If you would rather speak to someone over the telephone, you can call Childline on: 0800 1111

For any community-related issues, such as anti-social behaviour, we would suggest contacting your landlord, the local police or your local environmental health department (where applicable), as we are unable to deal with these types of complaints.