Mental Health and Bullying
When thinking about children getting bullied, we often think of pushing, hitting, black and blue marks, and a hurt ego. However, bullying plays a much deeper role in a child than just the physical damage that can be done. In fact, in many cases, bullying is more emotional and mental abuse than physical abuse. Even with the physical bullying cases, there is mental health damage done. If you want to help your child deal with bullying at any point in their life, whether now or in the future, you must learn about mental health and bullying. Knowing more about this topic is key to helping your child deal with bullying. Understanding the future impact bullying can have in adulthood is also essential.
Effects of Bullying on a Child’s Mental Health
Unfortunately, bullying plays a massive role in a child’s mental health. It can damage their self-esteem, cause anxiety, increase their stress levels and cause other types of harm to their mental health. Learning more about these issues can help you get your child the treatment they need.
Increased Anxiety and Stress
As just noted, when it comes to bullying, the person being bullied will often deal with higher anxiety and stress levels. The stress can be long-lasting and at a low level, long-lasting and at a higher level, short-acting and mild to severe, or anything in between.
When it comes to mental health and bullying, the child who is repeatedly bullied will often be so anxious and stressed that it leads their mind and body to exhaustion. Some of the other problems that increased anxiety and stress levels can cause include:
- Anxiety and/or panic attacks
- Weakened immune system
- Stomach aches
- Chest and body pains
If you notice your child is dealing with any of these problems and there isn’t a known physical cause, it may be best to talk to them about bullying. They may be bullied and haven’t spoken up about it yet. If this is the case, they may need mental health treatments and other support to help them deal with what they have been through.
Dealing with Depression
According to the National Institute of Health, depression is one of the most common issues bullying victims experience. Depression can be caused by cyber, physical, mental health, and emotional bullying.
With any bullying, the child may feel helpless or isolated. They may feel so alone that they don’t reach out for help. Some of the symptoms of depression that your child may experience include the following:
- Lack of energy
- Little to no motivation or focus
- Losing interest in their hobbies
- Sleep and/or eating issues
- Chronic pains
If you notice that your child is dealing with depression and there doesn’t seem to be a clear explanation as to why it could be due to them being bullied. They may need mental health treatment to overcome depression. It is also important to find out who is bullying them and deal with that issue with the proper authorities, whether teachers, principals, police officers, or others.
Harming Oneself and/or Others
If your child is the victim of bullying, they may start harming themselves and/or others. Bullying often causes children to feel suicidal or have suicidal thoughts. They generally think this way because they can’t think of any other solutions to stop the abuse they are going through.
In some cases, the person who is being bullied will lash out and hurt others. This is often their way of taking control of the situation and showing strength. They will usually bully or harm someone smaller or weaker than they are.
Some children will harm themselves and others. They may cut, hit, scratch, and/or burn themselves. Your child may hit or mentally abuse others, as well. Research shows that victims of bullying who start harming themselves and/or others are much more likely to bring weapons to school and be part of school shootings.
Is Your Child a Victim of Bullying?
Is your child a victim of bullying? If you notice your child has increased anxiety and/or stress levels, symptoms of depression, or they are hurting themselves or others, they may be bullied. Children should never have to deal with bullying. There are solutions and resources out there to get them out of these types of situations. There are also programs and resources to help with mental health and bullying on both ends – for the victim and the bully.
Some of the many ways that you can help your child if they are dealing with bullying include:
- Intentively listening to and focusing on your child (show them that you understand what they are going through and you want to help them as much as possible)
- Letting your child know that they aren’t alone and that it is okay to talk about the bullying
- Report the bullying to the proper authorities
- Tell and remind your child it isn’t their fault they were bullied
- Help your child realize there are many resolutions to bullying
- Let your child know that issues with mental health and bullying often go hand-in-hand and that our Sylvia Brafman team can help with each one of these issues
- Be persistent in getting your child to open up to you about bullying
- If you have your own story about you being bullied, tell it to your child, as it may help them to open up to you or someone else
Pick one or more of these tips and implement them with your child today. If your child ever comes to you and tells you they are being bullied, don’t brush it off like it is nothing. That will likely cause your child even more mental and physical health issues.
Adults Can Be Bullied, Too
Even though we talked all about children being bullied, we would like to take a moment to say that adults can be bullied, too. If you or another adult is dealing with bullying and it is affecting your mental and/or physical health, there are treatments that you can receive to help you deal with what you are going through, as well.
Get Help with Mental Health and Bullying Right Away
Is your child, yourself, or another loved one dealing with issues relating to mental health and bullying? If so, please contact us today for help and treatment to work through these issues.