Following on from our blog on bullying in secondary schools, this article is going to examine the effects of bullying on mental health.
Bullying and mental health are two factors that tend to go hand in hand, but can bullying cause mental illness in children? Is the statement that ‘bullying leads to mental health problems’ always the case?
Not everyone who has been bullied is destined to suffer some kind of mental health issue, however, studies show that there is a link.
How Does Bullying Affect Mental Health?
Commonly, bullying is something most likely to occur in childhood. However, the effects and impact of bullying can last into adulthood — childhood bullying can have lasting effects. Studies have shown that adults who were bullied as children have higher rates of mental health illnesses such as panic disorders, anxiety, depression, agoraphobia and low self-esteem. Children and teens who are being bullied will likely start to exhibit signs that cause concern for their mental health. It is important to look out for these as soon as they start to manifest. Signs such as social withdrawal, anxiety and self-blame are all red flags for bullying. We also need to examine why children bully and how bullying affects the bully as well as the bullied.
Studies have also shown that mental health illness in teens increases due to cyberbullying which is particularly detrimental because the target can be bullied 24/7. There have also been many cases in recent years where the tragic result of cyberbullying has been suicide. The devastating effects of bullying on a target’s mental health calls for more action to be taken.
As previously discussed, schools need to be on board with anti-bullying policies to protect young people’s mental wellbeing. Everyone should play their part to look out for the signs of bullying and give a voice to those suffering in silence. This would help to prevent the large number of mental health issues that bullying has contributed to.