Effects of Bullying on Mental Health

Written by: Ankita Kathad – MA (Clinical Psychology)
Last updated date : March 23, 2023

Bullying has long-lasting effects on a person. It affects a person physically as well as mentally. The effects of bullying can even stay for a long time. Additionally, bullying can lead to depression and other mental disorders. This article covers the effects of bullying on mental health.

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Chapter 1:

Understand Bullying- The Bully and the Bullied!

Bullying is when someone harasses a person for no reason. It usually occurs in school-aged children. There is a power imbalance between the abuser and the victim. Bullying can also occur when someone makes fun of others for no reason. Usually, the person who doesn’t fit in is bullied. However, this is not always necessary. People who are not in power often face bullying too.

The person who is the aggressor is the bully and the one who is the victim is the bullied. Here is some common bullying behavior.

  1. Physically harming someone by pushing them, pulling them, or hitting them.
  2. Mentally hurting them by hate comments, shaming them, or saying abusive words to them.
  3. Giving threats to the other person. Not letting others live peacefully.
  4. Spreading lies and rumors about a person.

Bullying can be of many types. Here we classify them into four major types:

  1. Physical bullying: The bully tries to physically hurt a person. This is done by hitting them. Additionally, they can end up injuring them or picking physical fights with them.
  2. Verbal bullying: Over here the person tries to mentally torture a person. Here the person may manipulate the other person. They may hurt their feelings by commenting on their sex, race, or class. Moreover, the person uses foul language to demean and hurt the self-esteem of other people.
  3. Psychological bullying: This is done by saying mean things about a person and spreading lies. Additionally, the bully can threaten the person or emotionally blackmail them.
  4. Cyberbullying: This has become the most common form of bullying these days. It happens on the internet. When someone sends an online threat it is online or cyberbullying. There are other examples such as making fun of someone online or isolating them online.

Chapter 2:

Effects of Bullying on the Mental Health of the Victim

Bullying is very dangerous to physical and mental health. It can leave a scar for a lifetime. If bullying is not addressed, the victim can suffer lasting damage. Additionally, many children will have to face this behavior. Bullying is very common in high schools. This is also the age when children are the most vulnerable. Online bullying goes unnoticed so many times. Moreover, online bullying is done in silence and the abuser has many ways of escaping the punishment. Here are some effects of bullying on mental health.

  1. Effects on mood: Children who face bullying remain sad and withdrawn. The child can also become annoyed quickly. The child will likely suffer from mood disorders in the future. They may feel very vulnerable. Additionally, the child may feel lost at times.
  2. Effects on social functioning: The child may lose self-esteem due to bullying. Due to this, they have social fear. They will avoid going out with friends. As a result of this, they will lonely. They fear that someone will bully them if they go out. They will appear scared and nervous in public. It is also likely that will fear slight touches or nonharmful jokes.
  3. Effects on relationships: Victims will withdraw from loved ones. As bullying affects self-esteem, they will not be able to make friends. Moreover, as adults, they may have trouble in romantic relationships.

Bullying can lead to suicidal behaviors in victims. For instance, if someone is threatening a person, they will fear their safety. Moreover, they fear their parent’s safety. This will lead to suicidal behavior. Additionally, there can be self-harm behaviors. The victim will blame themselves. There have been instances of people taking extreme steps due to cyberbullying.

Chapter 3:

Effects of Bullying on the Mental Health of the Bully

Bullying affects not only the victim but also the abuser. A bully has a false perception of power. Eventually, that feeling grows. The abuser thinks that they can do anything. Therefore, this imbalance of power makes them feel that they are right.

The abuser can face problems like an anti-social personality. They are at higher risk of getting into a violent fight in the future. They will face problems like low grades and detention at school. Moreover, there is a risk of them becoming abusive partners in the future. They can engage in criminal acts.

Abusers are at a higher risk of engaging in substance abuse in the future.

Chapter 4:

Addressing Bullying

The effects of bullying are far and wide. We have discussed them. The prevalence of bullying is even more shocking. It can be seen that many children who go through this abuse don’t even report it. If not addressed, these effects can ruin a person’s career and relations. Here are some ways you can address the effects of bullying

Chapter 5:

If You Are the Victim

  • As a victim, you can approach the anti-bullying helplines. The first step should be to inform an adult who can help. Don’t blame yourselves. You are not weak!
  • You can also ignore the bully. If the abuser is throwing verbal abuses, ignore them. Bullies feed on attention. Moreover, they like a reaction. Do not give them any reaction. You can walk away to a safe space.
  • Use body language that conveys that you are not afraid. Bullies usually pick on people who cannot defend themselves. Your body postures should convey that you are unafraid.
  • You can share your feelings with someone you trust. Talking it out doesn’t mean you are weak. Talk to a counselor or teacher. Talking helps you gain confidence. Moreover, talking helps you face your fear.
  • When someone is bullying you, don’t engage in a fight with them. Don’t get physical. This will only worsen the situation. Get help. Keep a buddy and call for help. Keep trustworthy friends. You can keep their numbers on speed dial for emergencies.

Chapter 6:

As a Bystander or a Family or Friend

If you are a bystander, it is important for to you speak up. When you speak up, the abuser understands that the victim is not alone. As a bystander, you can:
  1. Call up authorities on behalf of the victim. You can call teachers, mentors, or a school counselor.
  2. Support the victim. Talk to them about their feelings. Additionally, listen to them.
  3. You can act as their buddy. You can provide help whenever they need them.
  4. There are many effects of bullying on mental health. You can check for signs of any distress in your friend. Try to look for any unexplained injuries and try to address them.
  5. Bullying also affects self-esteem, you can help the person to gain confidence.

Chapter 7:

If You Are the Bully or Know Someone Who Is a Bully

The mental health of the bully is also affected. If you know someone who is an abuser, you can talk to them and take them to a counselor. If you are bullying someone, understand the effects of bullying on the victim. Imagine how they feel. Imagine how their life is getting ruined. Additionally, you can seek mental health advice from the school counselor. Speak to someone you trust. Moreover, seek medical help from experts.

Chapter 8:


Bullying affects many aspects of the victim. Moreover, it affects the social life of the victim. They may end up having social anxiety. Due to fear of being bullied, they will avoid talking to new people. They will be socially shy and will avoid going out. If you are facing these issues, you can check the website Epsychonline. There are courses like DBT for social anxiety. These courses are curated by experts. Additionally, they are self-help. Many articles can help you. These articles focus on coping with bullying such as Coping with bullying (for teens). Do check them out!

"Structured and engaging course" Joan

69 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount