How Bullying Can Affect Mental Health

Bullying can severely affect a person’s mental health. It can happen to anyone, anywhere, and anytime. Bullying often occurs among kids in school, on the bus, or in the playground. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many schools to remain closed, and children participate in online distance learning. As a result, stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression are increased due to the absence of in-person socialization, the inability to gather with extended family and friends, and the uncertainty of future events and learning.

According to the American Psychological Association, “Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words, or more subtle actions.” A person who is bullied often has difficulty defending themself against the aggressor.


Cyberbullying is the act of using technology to send or share mean, intimidating, harmful, or embarrassing messages or pictures to or about someone. Kids and teens are targeted online through social media apps, text messages, and chat rooms. Cyber-bullying victims are often bullied, harassed, and intimidated through posts and comments on social media platforms.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in kids using multiple digital platforms for online learning and other educational purposes. Cyberbullying has been around for a long time, but now kids are more stressed and prone to boredom, so there is a greater risk of becoming victims of cyberbullying. With the increased use of smartphones and social media, students who bully others are likely to cyberbully.

Effects of Bullying On Students

Bullying has a severe impact on a student’s ability to learn. Students who are bullied have trouble with concentration, which shows a decline in grades. A bullied student may lose self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth. They may even be at high risk of substance use disorders and addiction due to using drugs or alcohol to cope.

Bullying or harassment at school or work can put a person at high risk of health problems. A student who is bullied is at risk of physical issues, such as headaches, stomachaches, and sleep disruption. Bullying can be devastating and can contribute to the development of heart problems due to the high level of stress the body is continually enduring.

Bullying can also lead to behavioral changes. The victim might act out and become aggressive and unreasonable, may develop mood swings, and become hostile or withdrawn and isolated. Bullying affects appetite and can result in weight loss or weight gain.

Kids Who Bully Others

A kid who bullies others may lack attention from a parent at home. This can include neglected children, children of divorced parents, or children with parents under the regular influence of drugs or alcohol. Kids who bully might engage in violent, spontaneous, and risky behaviors into adulthood.

According to Denis Sukhodolsky, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Yale Child Study Center, bullies are “impaired in their ability to perceive another person’s distress.” These kids tend to have difficulties with anger management and aggression, and many have had life experiences that most likely contribute to their behavior.

Kids who bully are at high risk of:

  • Using drugs and alcohol in adolescence and as adults
  • Getting into fights, vandalizing property, and poor school performance
  • Engaging in early sexual activity
  • Having criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults
  • Becoming abusive toward their partners, spouses, or children as adults

Adult Bullying

Bullying also happens to adults. Bullying manifests into behaviors like verbal abuse, sabotaging work and relationships, and misusing authority. Verbal bullying refers to words that harm others, such as name-calling, insults, sexual or discriminatory comments, teasing, intimidation, and taunting. Forms of adult bullying can include:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Threats
  • Humiliation
  • Gaslighting
  • Ostracism or isolation
  • Intimidation
  • Sabotage
  • Reputation damage due to rumors

Mental Health Services

Bullying can have a significant impact on the lives of victims and their mental health. Victims of bullying may experience PTSD, depression, anxiety, and in some cases, suicidal ideation. Children who experience a mental health disorder may have difficulty coping and engaging in daily activities. They may show signs of negative moods, disruptive sleep patterns, and frequent bouts of anger.

A mental health disorder can affect school performance and make it hard for children to find activities they can enjoy. Some youth mental health disorders may cause excessive worrying and anxiety accompanied by nightmares. They may also engage in aggressive behavior and spend extended periods in isolation.

Fortunately, child mental health services are available and can help kids cope with depression, anxiety, ADHD, or other mental health disorders. Adult mental health services are also available and can be tailored to each individual’s unique needs. If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health disorder, get help today.

Bullying among children and adults can create or worsen mental health disorders. As someone is continuously taunted, they may experience depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Bullies may also have a mental illness, as the most likely cause of bullying is home life problems. Mental health disorders can make it challenging to engage in everyday activities. The COVID-19 pandemic may also be stressful for people. At Achieve Concierge, you can receive individualized support to cope with the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. If you or a loved one is a victim of bullying or cyberbullying and suffering from a mental health condition, do not wait to get help. The stigma surrounding mental health prevents some people from seeking help. We believe in treating the person as a whole with a holistic approach that encompasses the mind, body, and spirit. We offer same-day appointments, Telemedicine, and at-home appointments. For more information about our services, call (619) 393-5871.

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