Bullying can happen at school, online, at home or elsewhere, and can happen to anyone. It’s always wrong – nobody should hurt you or make you feel bad.
Bullying can mean many different things and can come in several forms, including:
- being physically harmed
- being called names or teased
- having stuff taken from you
- having rumours spread about you
- being ignored or left out
- being threatened or intimidated
People might bully someone because of their:
- race or where they’re from
- sexual identity
- religion, faith or culture
- gender identity
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness and it is the first step to stopping the situation. The law makes it clear that your school must try to prevent all forms of bullying.
Try to talk to someone you trust, perhaps a parent, carer, teacher or friend. Talking can sometimes be difficult so if you find it easier write them a note or email.
If you are frightened that this might make things worse you can call Childline in confidence. Ring 0800 1111. Childline advisers are trained to help any child or young person. They are also trained not to judge you.
On its website Childline gives the following advice:
- Stay away from anyone involved in bullying
- Stay in a group of friends when you don’t feel safe
- Walk home with someone or get a lift
- Ask your mates to look out for you
- Try not to fight back, as you could get into trouble or get hurt
- Don’t reply to an abusive message
- Keep a record and save any nasty messages you’ve received
- Block the bullying from contacting you or unfriend them on social media
- Ask your school about its anti-bullying policy to found out what they should do about bullying.
It can feel really hard to stand up for yourself, but things can seem so much better afterwards. Assertiveness is a way of communicating which means you can say what you think without being aggressive. Try telling someone how you feel about a situation, while also listening to their point of view.
Schools employ a range of people to look after your wellbeing. Some of the titles of these staff may vary in your school but you will be able to find out about them from a teacher.
Most schools have a nurse who either have a drop-in clinic or appointments you can make to see them. They can provide information about mental health and emotional wellbeing, and can help you access further support if this is needed. cchp.nhs.uk/cchp/explore-cchp/school-health-nursing
Off the Record: free and confidential one-to-one and group mental health support for 11-18 year olds, in schools and community settings. Young people can sign up online or find out more via the HUBS – www.otrbristol.org.uk, call 0808 808 9120 between 2 and 5pm, text 07896880011.
GP – you can make an appointment to visit your doctor or a nurse at the surgery to talk about any worries or concerns you have. Call your GP surgery to speak to the receptionist or go there in person. The receptionist will probably ask you who the appointment is for and why; this is to make sure that you see the right person at the right time. You don’t have to tell them why – you can just say it’s for something personal if you like.
If you think you’ll might have difficulty discussing your mental health with your GP, you can find advice about how to prepare How to Talk to Your GP About Mental Health
Bullying related to race, religion or culture
Childline’s website has a section of racism and what you can do if you encounter racist bullying https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/bullying-abuse-safety/crime-law/racism/
Bullying of young people with a learning disability
Don’t Stick it, Stop it! https://www.mencap.org.uk/sites/default/files/2016-07/Bullying%20wrecks%20lives.pdf set up by Mencap, campaigns against the bullying of young people with learning disabilities.
Homophobic or transphobic bullying
Stonewall is a charity that campaigns for equal rights for lesbians, gay men and bisexual people. Its Education for All campaign tackles homophobic bullying in schools across the UK. http://www.youngstonewall.org.uk/lgbtq-info/education-all-campaign
Bullying of young carers
Babble is an online community for young carers (aged under 18) run by the Carers Trust. You can ask questions and get online advice. https://babble.carers.org/user/login?destination=node/1081
Cyberbullying uses technology to bully people. Find out how to deal with cyberbullying http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Bullying/Pages/Cyberbullying.aspx
You can find many more anti-bullying organisations on the Anti-Bullying Alliance website https://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/
Bullybusters operates a free anti-bullying helpline for anyone who’s been affected by bullying. It also has a website and message board, with sections specifically for kids and young people. 0800 169 6928www.bullybusters.org.uk
ChildLine – free helpline for children and young people to talk about any problem 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 0800 1111 www.childline.org.uk
Childline also has information on how to build your self confidence and self-esteem, standing up for yourself and five ways to build your self-esteem.
Get self-help – free online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) resources, www.getselfhelp.co.uk.
Kidscape equips young people, parents and professionals with the skills to tackle bullying and
safeguarding issues across the UK. https://www.kidscape.org.uk/
The Mix is the UK’s leading support service for young people. Here to help you take on any challenge you’re facing – from mental health to money, from homelessness to finding a job, from break-ups to drugs. Talk via online, social or the free, confidential helpline. Telephone and email support for under 25’s. Freephone 0808 808 4994 (1pm-11pm) Text 80849 www.themix.org.uk
Mood Juice – Internet site offering information and advice to those experiencing troublesome thoughts, feelings and actions. http://www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/
Rise Above – Help for 11 – 16 year olds to build emotional resilience by equipping them with the knowledge and skills to deal with pressures they may face. Inspiring and useful stories, videos, games and advice. http://riseabove.org.uk/
Samaritans – Free national helpline that can be used at any time you like to discuss issues affecting you – 116 123. You don’t have to be suicidal. There is also a Bristol Branch available on 0117 9831000.
Youth Access is the national membership organisation for young people’s information, advice,
counselling and support services. Their website offers a directory of local youth information, advice
and counselling services for young people aged 14 – 25. http://www.youthaccess.org.uk/
Youth Mental Health: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/youth-mental-health/Pages/Youth-mental-health-help.aspx
Youth Space – www.twitter.com/youthspace1
Reading Well – Shelf Help – a list of recommended books to help young people deal with a range of issues, available in all libraries.
Teen Life Confidential: Bullies, Cyberbullies and Frenemies by Michele Elliott
Vicious: True Stories by Teens About Bullying by Hope Vanderberg