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How can I help stop bullies?

If you or someone you know is being bullied, talk to someone you trust


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life


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Bullying can happen to anyone, and anywhere. It can happen in school, college, work, online and even at home. Bullying can have a devastating effect on a person’s mental health and self-esteem, and can make life miserable for the person who is being bullied. If you are being bullied or you are witness to someone else being bullied it can be difficult to know what to do, but there are ways that you can try to deal with bullies.

I'm being bullied, what can I do?

Talk to someone

If you are being bullied it is important to speak to someone about it. Talk to a friend or someone you trust so that you don't have to deal with the bullying alone. Sharing your problems with someone else can help you feel more confident by knowing that you have support around you.

It is also important that you tell someone in charge, such as your parent or a teacher, if you are being bullied as they will be able to help. If you find it too difficult to speak to someone about it, ask a friend to come with you for support. If you do not find the help you need the first time you ask a teacher or parent, go to a different person until you get the support you need. 

Remember what they are saying is not true

What the bully is saying about you is not true, they are just trying to hurt you. Listen to those around you who love and support you, they know your worth. Believe in yourself and try to ignore others who will put you down.

Go to see your doctor

If the bullying is affecting you physically or mentally, go to see your doctor. It can be good to talk to a professional who can offer you unbiased advice or direct you to other support services that can help you.

Try to stay calm  

Try not to get worked up in front of the person who is bullying you. If they do not get a reaction from you they may become bored and stop.

Keep a record

Keep a record of every bullying episode that happens: note the time, place, what happened and if anyone else was a witness. This will help you explain clearly what’s been happening. If the bullying is happening on a computer, phone or tablet, take screenshots and save messages.

Prioritise your friendships

Being bullied can be an isolating experience and make you feel alone so it is important to try and spend time with people who support you and make you feel happy. The amount of friends you have is not important, but having someone you can talk to and enjoy time with can help take your mind off the negative situation and boost your sense of self worth. If you are feeling low it can be normal to not want to socialise but by spending time with others you can look after your mental health and speak to them about what is happening in your life. 

What should I do if I see someone being bullied?

If you see someone being bullied it can be difficult to step in for fear that they could then begin bullying you. But standing by and watching bullying happen is not the answer either. The more people who stand up to a bully the less likely they are to continue. If you see someone being bullied you should approach them and let them know that you are there for them and suggest that they go talk to someone who can help stop it. If they do not want to report the bullying, you should report it to the appropriate person. If the bullying is taking place online you should also report it by using the report function.

What are the signs that someone is being bullied?

  • A change in behaviour, such as a lack of concentration and/or becoming withdrawn, excessively clingy, depressed, fearful, or emotionally up and down
  • Appearing to have no close friends, not being part of groups, not discussing positive events from their experience
  • Happy at the weekend but not during the week
  • A drop in performance in school or at work
  • Physical signs: stomach aches, headaches, sleep difficulties
  • Making negative remarks about themselves including phrases such as "Nobody else thinks I'm any good"
  • Having cuts and bruises
  • Unexplained damage to their belongings or clothing

What should I do if I think someone is being bullied?

If you think your friend or someone you know is being bullied, talk to them about it. Avoid questioning them too intently or asking them anything that might make them feel that they have done something wrong. Bring up the subject indirectly, giving them the option to talk about it or not. When they start to talk, listen carefully to what they have to say. If you are very concerned for their wellbeing, you should talk to a trusted teacher or family member who can do something more about it.

Where can I go for support if I am being bullied?

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Published Decem­ber 12th2012
Last updated Feb­ru­ary 15th2019
Tags bullying help mental health wellbeing
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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