Thursday, 5 February 2015

When Names Hurt: The Mental Health Effects of Bullying by Sarah Evans

When I was younger, people were told to ignore bullies or just pretend they weren't being hurtful. However, with yet another suicide attributed to bullying a few weeks ago, it is an issue we can no longer afford to ignore.

Bullying happens when a person is repeatedly targeted with negative words and/or actions. It includes (but is not limited to): teasing, purposeful exclusion and physical assault.

Being bullied has a major impact on a person's mental health. Those who have been bullied may feel alone, unsafe, afraid, stressed out and rejected. They may also feel ashamed, believing that they deserve to be bullied. Additionally, victims may feel guilty for having allowed the bully to control them, and they may begin to internalize the bullying (say to themselves what the bully says to them).

Being bullied can cause a number of mental health problems, including anxiety, panic attacks, clinical depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These issues may be caused by the bullying or exacerbated (made worse) by it.

The longer a person is exposed to a stress like being bullied, the more severe the psychological impact will be. This impact can last for years, even long after the bullying has ended.

People react to being bullied in different ways. Some people may attempt to change their appearance, behaviour or something else about themselves to try to fit in. At a more extreme end, some people may try to hurt or kill themselves because they believe there is no way out.

If you are being bullied or someone is making you feel uncomfortable, the best thing to do is to tell someone. They may be able to support you and help you make it stop.

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