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Bullying

Bullying affects over one million young people every year, and anyone can be bullied. Here's what you can do if you're being bullied.

What is bullying?

If somebody physically hurts you, or verbally abuses you, that’s bullying.

Specific types of bullying include:

  • homophobic bullying based on your sexual orientation
  • racist bullying because of your skin colour
  • religious bullying because of your beliefs or faith.
  • sizeist bullying referring to your body size
  • sexist bullying focusing on you being of the opposite sex
  • cyberbullying targeting you online, often anonymously
  • bullying because you are different

Bullying can be a one-off or it can go on for a long time. And bullying can happen to anyone.

No matter how alone you might feel, there is always someone you can talk to and someone who can help.
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How bullying can affect you

Bullying can make you feel isolated and worthless, lonely, anxious, angry and lacking confidence. You may experience some or all of these feelings.

Some people who are being bullied develop depression, anxiety and eating problems. They may self-harm or turn to drugs and alcohol. If you are experiencing problems like these because of bullying, it’s having an impact on your health. You need to talk to your GP, who will keep any information confidential.

Bullying in any form is hurtful and unacceptable and can make your life miserable.

Guest blog: Overcoming the effects of bullying

When my family and I migrated to a new country, I felt completely isolated and anxious. I didn’t recognise my difference until I was in a place where I was the minority and every aspect of my identity was under scrutiny. The nicknames, exclusion, and taunting that came my way in school made me build a wall that stopped me from accessing my emotions and taking care of my wellbeing.

Everything that was positive about me and my life was put aside and I was overwhelmed with negativity. My low self-esteem and lack of emotional expression stopped me from having a positive outlook for my future and believing in my ability to flourish.

When I reflected on my childhood experiences of bullying and exclusion, I was able to start reworking my negative view of my self-worth, my capabilities and my aspirations. It was vital for me to visit my younger self who was locked away and reassure her that it was going to be okay.

To continue reading their story, visit 'Overcoming the effects of bullying.'

For more advice on overcoming bullying, have a look at our blogs:

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Get help for bullying

Bullying is not your fault, and things can get better.

Ignoring bullying won’t make it go away. You need to tell someone about what is happening.

If the bullying is happening at school
Talk to your parents or carers and your teacher. Your teacher may have no idea that you are being bullied, and the school will have an anti-bullying policy to tackle it.

If you feel you can’t speak to your teacher, maybe a friend can do it for you. You can also speak to a school counsellor, welfare officer or nurse.

In extreme cases, if bullying is interfering with your education it may be possible for you to change schools if it doesn’t stop once you have reported it.

If the bullying is happening outside school
Talk to your parents or carers, close relatives such as grandparents, aunties and uncles, or even your friends’ parents. Youth workers and leaders may be able to help too.

If the bullying is happening online
Tell a trusted adult – your parents or carers, or a teacher. You can report abusive posts on Facebook and other social media platforms. You can also report abuse to CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre).

Keep reporting the bullying until it stops. It may not stop the first time you tell your parents or teacher and they try to stop it. If the bullying continues, tell them again.

If you are a parent or carer of a child or young person who is being bullied, we can support you through our Parents Helpline. We are here to listen to you, and give you free, confidential advice and information.

Don’t put up with it. No one deserves to be bullied.

Tips from young people like you

Our Activists and other young people share their advice on how to get help for bullying.

“Your worth and who you are as a person is not defined by other people. Be yourself and you will flourish! I know it's so hard right now and everything feels like it's against you but please speak out and tell someone. Letting it out will make you feel so much better.”

“Nothing they’re saying is true, you are more than what they’re saying and doing to you."

“You are worth so much more than you think. Being bullied is scary, painful and really hard - but you don’t have to suffer in silence. Speak to someone you trust to let them know what is happening and together, you can work to make it better.”

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YoungMinds Crisis Messenger

Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis.

All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors.

Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.

Texts can be anonymous, but if the volunteer believes you are at immediate risk of harm, they may share your details with people who can provide support.

Text: YM to 85258

Opening times: 24/7

Childline

If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.

Sign up for a free Childline locker (real name or email address not needed) to use their free 1-2-1 counsellor chat and email support service.

Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.

Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.

Phone: 0800 1111

Opening times: 9am - midnight, 365 days a year

The Mix

Offers support to anyone under 25 about anything that’s troubling them.

Email support available via their online contact form.

Free 1-2-1 webchat service available.

Free short-term counselling service available.

Phone: 0808 808 4994

Opening times: 4pm - 11pm, seven days a week

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