If you’ve been bullied, you are not alone. Unfortunately, statistics indicate that 20% of students between the ages of 12 and 18 have been bullied. Even with its prevalence, bullying is not something to perceive as normal or okay. Childhood bullying has a number of long-term impacts that can last deep into adulthood, and as a society, it is crucial that we put a stop to bullying in all environments. So, what are the long-term impacts of bullying, and how can you find help if it’s something that you’ve been through on a personal level?
What Are The Long-Term Impacts Of Bullying?
Bullying is serious. It’s recognized as a major health risk. When you experience bullying in any form, it can make you feel isolated or rejected, and it has the potential to impact one’s self-esteem in painful, stark ways. In the short term, bullying can lead to lower academic performance, headaches, and trouble sleeping. Long-term impacts of bullying may include but aren’t limited to:
- An increased risk of depression
- An increased risk of anxiety
- An increased risk of smoking, alcohol or drug use, and the development of substance use disorders
- An increased risk of physical health consequences such as a lowered immune system
- Trouble forming social relationships with others
- An increased risk of suicide*
Statistically, it has even been found that those who faced childhood bullying have a lower socioeconomic status. A large body of research has been conducted on the impacts of bullying listed above. The good news is that, like with many adversities in life, while what you went through is not okay or excusable in any form, it is possible to move forward and live a happy, healthy life.
*If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or go to the nearest emergency room.
When we think of bullying, we often think of children in schools. However, bullying can happen anywhere. Here are some things that can you help to prevent bullying:
- Bullying intervention programs and similar efforts. Research shows that bullying intervention programs in schools reduce bullying by about 20% to 23%.
- Let people know that they can come to you. If you are in a position to do so (for example, if you are a teacher, professor, or supervisor in your workplace), let students or employees know that they can come to you if they encounter bullying or notice it happening to others.
- Speak up when you see it. If you see someone getting bullied, extend a hand to them, and if you can, let the appropriate party know what’s going on.
What we know about bullying is that, at the core of it all, the actions of the bully aren’t about any flaw that the victim has. Often, those who bully are encountering problems in their life. This doesn’t make it okay, but what is abundantly true and vital to acknowledge is that no one who is being bullied is the one to blame for what they’re facing. If you have been a victim of bullying personally and could benefit from talking to someone about these occurrences, it is important to find support. Therapy is an excellent way to address bullying you’ve encountered, whether it transpired as a child or adult.
How To Find Support
Whether you’re hoping to discuss and overcome the impacts of bullying, improve interpersonal relationships, address a mental health condition, or find help coping with something else, such as life stressors and grief, a counselor or therapist can help. There are a number of different ways to find a mental health counselor or therapist. You can make an appointment with your primary care provider and ask for a referral, contact your insurance company to see who they cover, search the web, use an online therapist directory, or sign up for an online therapy platform like BetterHelp. All of the providers on the BetterHelp platform are licensed, and online therapy is often more affordable than traditional in-person counseling or therapy is in the absence of insurance. Regardless of how you find a provider, you deserve to get the care that you need, so don’t hesitate to reach out today.
Marie Miguel Biography – Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.