Bullying is by no means a new phenomenon; in fact, bullying may be as synonymous with school years as reading and arithmetic. With that said, over the past several years, the long-term ramifications of bullying have not only been recognized, but also come to the forefront. Bullying is defined, by the American Psychiatric Association, as any means of aggressive behavior by which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person “harm or discomfort”. Bullying may be physical, verbal, or emotional, and may happen in schools, extracurricular activities, online, or in offices, to name a few.1 It is important for us to know both the effects of bullying and how to prevent it.
Those who are bullied are more likely to experience:
- Higher rates of depression and anxiety
- Changes in sleep
- Anhedonia (inability to gain pleasure from activities one used to find enjoyable).
- Physical and somatic complaints
- Decreased academic or work achievement and participation in respective areas.2
There are, however, ways to prevent bullying from occurring or to stop long-term bullying from taking place. Teachers and administrators should continuously assess how often bullying occurs, who intervenes, and where it happens. Additionally, it is important for everyone to create a unified front against bullying. This may mean standing up to or reporting a bully, educating students and employees on anti-bullying policies, or continuing to build prevention.
If you, or anyone you know, is a victim of bullying, please reach out to those who can be the most supportive to you. This is not a fight one needs to fight alone.
This blog was written by Gillian Sacks, LMSW, Counselor at EDTC.
1. American Pscyhological Association. http://www.apa.org/topics/bullying/
2. US Department of Health & Human Services. http://www.stopbullying.gov/