With anti-bullying week approaching, taking place from the 14th to the 18th of November, now would be a good time to approach a topic that many find difficult to talk about.
Let’s talk bullying
Bullying can affect a wide range of people, from young children in school to teenagers at college, to middle-to-late-aged adults facing bullying in the workplace. I’m sure there may be a few readers who have experienced bullying themselves here at the university.
In 2017, The Guardian reported that ‘almost a quarter of British pupils’ that took part in OECD’s poll said that they were being bullied ‘a few times a month’ and that ‘more than 14%’ revealed that they were bullied frequently. This brought to light a disturbing fact: that the UK was the ‘fourth worst affected of all 34 countries surveyed.’
The act of bullying itself comes in many forms, from verbal abuse to physical abuse to cyberbullying, each of these can affect the victim in a multitude of ways; those who have been bullied are more likely to exhibit signs of depression and anxiety; they can encounter issues when trying to form and maintain relationships with friends and families; they are more likely to have suicidal thoughts as an effect of bullying.
With cases of mental health issues in youngsters on the rise, it can prove to be difficult to ascertain whether this is due to bullying or other factors. Observation can be helpful in this situation, whether it’s a friend or a classmate who seems off, keeping an eye on them and making sure nobody is hurting them is a good way to check on them. Communication is also a big help; just sitting down and talking about what’s bothering them can be a massive help, not only will it help them to get it off their chest, but it shows them that they are not alone and that they have someone who will listen to them.
What to do if you’re being bullied
If you yourself are experiencing bullying, then there are steps you can take to help yourself. Talking to your friends and family can help and getting people on board and clued in on what is going on can help you to feel more at ease as you know you will always have them to speak to. You could also take it up with teachers, lecturers, personal tutors; or anyone who can help get to the root of the problem and speak with the bully or bullies. Student Wellbeing is a good place to talk if you are experiencing bullying at the university, as they will provide guidance on what steps to take and they will pass the information on to the relevant higher-ups. whoever you go and speak to, you can always do it anonymously.
I hope this article will prove helpful for some, whether you can see someone going through a hard time, or you are currently being bullied yourself, just know that you are not alone and that there are people who will listen to you and will want to help.
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