Our top tips!
- Self-careMaking sure that you’re taking care of yourself is really important to manage anxiety, depression and low self-esteem, all of which can often be caused by bullying.
- Seek helpConfiding in a trustworthy adult such as a teacher or parent is especially helpful. Adults will know who to contact about the situation so that help and support can be given. For example, teachers can keep an eye on the situation and take action as needed.
What is bullying?
Bullying is defined as actions causing repeated, intentional harm to others. As many as 1.5 million young people in the UK have been bullied within the past year alone. Bullying comes in many different forms, including:
- Physical bullying – This could be assault, physical fighting or anything that physically hurts you.
- Emotional bullying – This could be calling names, playing with your emotions or even blackmail.
- Cyberbullying – This is bullying that happens online. Usually this happens through social media.
These are the most common forms of bullying, but there are many other forms it can take too.
Recognising and reporting bullying is very important because victims are at an increased risk of low self-esteem, mental health issues and even suicide. Knowing how and where to seek help – either for yourself or someone else – can be difficult.
Schools are required by law to provide a safe space for pupils in the form of an anti-bullying policy. The information on this page will help you recognise bullying, as well as find out where and how you can seek help if you find yourself being bullied.
It’s important to remember that there are plenty of people who can and want to help you, so make sure you reach out for support rather than suffering alone.
What support is there if I'm being bullied?
There are plenty of ways to get support if you’re being bullied, and it’s really important that you reach out to make sure that the right action is taken.
Support can come in many forms when you are being bullied. You may need support to help you to cope with the impact that bullying has on your physical or mental health, or support in stopping the bullying.
- Teenage Helpline – You can contact our mentors anytime to talk about how you’re feeling. They will listen to your experiences, give you advice and help you find the right people to talk to about the bullying.
- Other organisations – the Anti-Bullying Alliance and Bullying UK provide information and support for different types of bullying.
- Other online groups – There are other groups available online, both professional and informal, who can help you with bullying if you need it. Some groups are made up of others being bullied who want to support each other. People in these groups may have had similar experiences to you, so will be able to share their advice and support you.
- Adults – It is really important to talk to an adult when you are being bullied. This might be your parents, a teacher or a social worker. As well as supporting you, they can take the necessary steps to make sure that the bullying stops.
What do I need to know about bullying?
How do I know if I'm being bullied?
Bullying can take many forms. Although bullying seems to be more common in schools, it can happen in the workplace or even at home. Some things to look out for include being physically injured (e.g. kicking, hitting, pushing, biting, punching), people making threats, receiving hateful messages online, being constantly excluded, rumour-spreading, name-calling, belittling or gaslighting (manipulation to make someone question their sanity).
If any of these are happening to you frequently, then it’s important to seek help. You can get help from any adults, including teachers!
What if my friend is being bullied?
Finding out that your friend is being bullied can be a scary thing. You might be worried about getting involved in case anything starts happening to you, which is totally natural. If you notice any of the signs that someone is being bullied, it’s a good idea to talk to your friend and make sure they are alright. It’s also really important to tell an adult (even if your friend doesn’t want you to) to make sure that they are able to get the help that they need. By doing so, you are acting in their best interests and they will be grateful for this later.
How can I support a friend?
Supporting a friend who is being bullied can be difficult because they may not want anyone to know they’re being bullied. They may not even want you to know, and they may deny it altogether. It’s important that you tell your friend that you are there for them whenever they are ready to talk. It may also be a good idea to encourage your friend to confide in an adult (such as a parent or teacher) and offer to come with them. If they refuse to speak up, mentioning the bullying to an adult yourself may be your only option. Teachers will not have to tell your friend that you told them, but they will still be able to help.
I think I might need some help... what do I do?
Being bullied makes it hard to speak out, and that is totally understandable. You might be scared that things will get worse. But bullies need to be stopped and dealt with appropriately.
It’s really important for you to reach out and talk to somebody about how you are feeling. Never try to take justice into your own hands in these situations. Always reach out and get help from us, teachers, parents or other people you trust.
Speak to us
You don’t need to suffer in silence. If you’re being bullied and would like to talk to someone, our friendly mentors will always be on hand to talk with you about anything that you might need.
Speak to somebody you trust
It’s really important that somebody close to you, who you can trust, knows about how you are feeling so that they can be there for you when you need them.
Speak to the police
This may sound like an extreme step, but often bullies are actually breaking the law. If you aren’t getting help at school or the bullying isn’t stopping, the police can help you out.
What should I do if I'm scared that it will get worse?
If you’re being bullied, try your best to ignore the bullies and stay out of their way. Bullies often like provoking a reaction from their victims.
By not giving them a reaction, they may become less interested in bullying you, and they may stop altogether. Often, this means you need to be the one to walk away, but it can be the best way to get them to leave you alone.
Bullying can be one of those things that gets worse before it gets better. If you tell an adult about the bullying and the bullies find out, they may get angry and take it out on you.
That should not stop you from getting help. The reason that the bullies are getting angry is probably because they are afraid of getting caught and getting into trouble.
When someone else is aware of the issue and looking out for instances of bullying, the bullies will become aware that adults are noticing their behaviour and stop doing it.