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Support with bullying

If you're being bullied and need support, our free, confidential text service is here for you, 24/7.

If your life is at imminent risk, please call 999 immediately.

What is bullying?

Bullying can be defined as unwanted, aggressive behaviour, including threats, spreading rumours, attacking physically or verbally, or excluding from a group. It can take many forms and have a lasting impact on your emotional wellbeing and mental health and leave you feeling alone and isolated.

You might know the person bullying you, for example a friend or your partner or a colleague, or it might be someone you don’t know, online.

Cyberbullying is any kind of bullying or harassment that takes place on the internet, or through technology such as a smartphone or tablet. It can and does happen on social media, in gaming sites, messaging apps and chat rooms. This form of bullying can include trolling, cyberstalking, impersonation (when someone pretends to be you online), harassment, spreading misinformation and exclusion.

Bullying takes place when there is an imbalance of power between two or more people. It can take many forms, including bullying someone because of their race, gender, sexuality, their body shape/size, if they have a disability either physical or mental, and bullying someone online. These are all things beyond the control of the person being bullied.

While it may feel like bullying is an issue that only happens to young people, it can and does happen at any age.

What to do if you’re being bullied

Being bullied can be a frightening and isolating experience. You may feel embarrassed to open up and talk to someone about it, but it’s important that you do.

Bullying in all forms is hurtful and can make someone’s life miserable. It’s ok and normal to be feeling anxious, depressed, worried, stressed, angry or overwhelmed if you are experiencing bullying, but you don’t have to tolerate it.

If you are dealing with a bully, you don’t have to face it alone. You can text SHOUT to 85258 to speak to a trained volunteer on our confidential text helpline. For more advice on what to do if you're being bullied, visit the National Bullying Helpline.

How to help someone who is being bullied

It can be upsetting to see or hear about someone being bullied. If you know someone who is being bullied, it’s important for them to know that you are there for them and that you are listening. Let them talk it through with you at their own pace, and give them time to work through how they are feeling.

If they’d prefer to talk to someone confidentially, you can share our text helpline with them, it is free, confidential, anonymous and off-bill.

If you need support you can text Shout to 85258, any time - day or night.

What we've learnt about bullying

At Shout our volunteers regularly take conversations with people about bullying. Our data team have been looking into these anonymised conversations to see what we can learn about supporting people who are being bullied with their mental health. You can read more about this on the Mental Health Innovations website.

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