Bullying affects over one million young people every year, and anyone can be bullied.
North Staffs Mind is helping to shine a spotlight on this issue by supporting Anti-Bullying Week, coordinated by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, from November 13 – 17.
The Alliance wants all children, teachers and parents to take action against bullying throughout the year. This year’s theme is ‘All Different, All Equal’, and the focus is on empowering children and young people to celebrate what makes them, and others, unique.
What is bullying?
If somebody physically hurts you, or verbally abuses you, that’s bullying.
Many people are bullied because they are different. It can be a one-off occurrence or it can go on for a long time. The thing to remember is that it can happen to anyone.
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, sizeist bullying referring to your body size, sexist bullying, and cyberbullying, which targets you online.
How does bullying make victims feel?
Bullying can make you feel isolated and worthless, lonely, anxious, angry and lacking confidence. You may experience some, or all of these feelings.
People who are being bullied may develop depression, anxiety, and eating problems, self-harm, or turn to drugs and alcohol. If you are experiencing problems like these because of bullying, 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 – don’t put up with it.
Ignoring bullying won’t make it go away. You need to tell someone about what is happening.
If the bullying is taking place 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, 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 the 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, call North Staffs Younger Mind on 01782 262100 or visit https://nsmind.org.uk/support-for-young-people/younger-mind.
Alternatively, anyone concerned about bullying can access information, contact numbers and more on their smartphone, tablet or PC by visiting www.peaceofmind.help.
For more information about anti-bullying week, visit www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/anti-bullying-week/about-anti-bullying-week-2017.