Bullying takes many forms and, for some, it is an unfortunate part of their childhood. Studies show bullied victims have a higher risk of developing mental health issues later in life.
Bullying causes poorer mental and physical health, increased symptoms of depression, and lower self-esteem. It also affects everyone — those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying.
Childhood is often based off of funny memories and friendships, but when children do not have a friend they can share a laugh with, they feel isolated and different from everyone else. This creates a barrier between the child and the rest of the sociable children. Feeling they are different from others also creates anxiety and causes them to be shy and unsociable.
Sadly, most of these “funny memories” are jokes friends share about making fun of some else. Jokes are often the funniest when they talk about the ugly truth, which eventually turns into a rumor.
“I realized everyone is a bully because we all make fun of each other. We don’t see how our humor makes others feel uncomfortable with who they are,” says freshman Lindsey Sugay.
Researchers carried out tests to see if the known effects of bullying persisted into adulthood. Individuals were tested for psychological distress and general health at the ages of 23 and 50, for psychiatric problems at 45, and cognitive functioning, social relationships and well-being at 50.
The study found that those who were bullied during their childhood were more likely to have poorer physical and mental health and cognitive functioning at the age of 50, and those who were bullied frequently were more likely to be depressed and have suicidal thoughts. They were also more likely to have social and economic consequences caused by childhood bullying leading them to be less educated and earn less than others or even be unemployed.
Not only were individual relationships affected, but also social ones. Bullied individuals were less likely to be in a relationship and to have good support from friends and family.
“Bullying sometimes triggers other traumatic events they have suffered; it sometimes even causes victims to become bullies themselves. The trickle-down effect really becomes an ugly reality for many sufferers,” says freshman Vanessa Mejia.
Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes, including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide. It is important to talk to kids to determine whether bullying — or something else — is a concern.
Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy are all issues that may persist into adulthood and vary future potential.
The victim is not the only one who experiences negative consequences. The bully also experiences physical, mental, and social health issues, such as alcohol and other drugs abuse. They are also more likely to engage in criminal activity, get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school.
You may think, I am neither a bully nor a victim, but you have definitely witnessed someone else getting bullied. Bystanders who witness bullying are more likely to have an increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs. Depression, anxiety and missing or dropping out of school are also likely to occur.
Although kids who are bullied are at risk of suicide, bullying alone is not the cause. Many issues contribute to suicide risk, including depression, problems at home, and trauma history. Additionally, specific groups have an increased risk of suicide, including American Indian and Alaskan Native, Asian American, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. This risk can be increased further when these children are not supported by parents, peers, and schools. Bullying can make an unsupported situation worse.
Will you just watch and be a bystander, or will you take part in stopping bullying?
Think of the last time you saw, did, or was bullied. What where you in this case?