Going back to school can be a stressful time for students, especially if going back to school means going back to being bullied. Bullying is any type of behaviour that hurts someone else, it can be physical, like pushing or hitting, or it can be mental, like name-calling or posting insulting and mean comments on social media. 

Bullying behaviour is one of the largest problems in schools, and has detrimental effects on the student’s health, wellbeing, and learning. Being bullied can affect the student in profound ways, in terms of how they see themselves, their friends, school, and their future. Students who are bullied often feel unhappy, lonely, anxious, embarrassed, suffer with low self-esteem, and in some cases, bullying can also lead to self-harm or even suicide. Students who are bullied may also avoid going to school or even leave school altogether, which may in turn affect their future career prospects.

Here are a few tips on how to handle being bullied at school:

If you are being bullied, it is important to tell someone you trust such as a parent or teacher about the bullying first and foremost. 

This is likely to feel scary especially if the bully has threatened to get you if you say anything. However, this is the bully’s tactic to control you and continue to bully you. All bullying is plainly wrong and telling an adult about it is not tattling, therefore it is crucial you speak to a trusted person as soon as possible before someone gets hurt. Remember that you cannot tackle bullying by yourself, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

It is useful to keep a diary of everything that happens.

 When speaking to an adult, it is possible that they may not necessarily understand, and may try to help by reassuring you that everything will be okay and that you may just need to stay away from the bully. For this reason, it is important to keep a diary of the bullying as this can help to give them a clear picture of the bullying and take you seriously. 

Try to avoid the bully wherever possible. 

Do not give them a chance to bully you by avoiding places where you are likely to run into a bully and trying to take a different route from home to school and also different routes within the school itself. Do not skip classes or hide away. You have a right to be at school and benefit from education.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Dr. Ronald Zammit holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Southampton, has completed Master’s level psychotherapy training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at the New Buckinghamshire University in the UK, as well as received training in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). He has a special interest in mood and anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma-related difficulties, personality disorders, and compassion-based approaches to treating difficulties related to high self-criticism and shame.