How do I find support for bullying at school?

The impact of being bullied at school

Experiencing bullying behaviour can be very distressing and it’s important to remember that it is never your fault and that you’re not alone. A recent poll commissioned by The Diana Award and Nationwide Building Society revealed that almost half (46%) of young people have experienced bullying behaviour at school at some point in their life:

  • Over half (54%) said it negatively affected their mental health and well-being
  • More than three quarters (78%) said it caused them to them to feel anxious
  • Almost half (44%) said it affected their ability to sleep at night and 14% wanting to self-harm and 9% feeling suicidal.
  • Almost three quarters (67%) of young people have seen or heard bullying behaviour in their school in the last year.

This is why Anti-Bullying Week is so important: to raise awareness and remind young people that there is support out there if they experience or see bullying behaviour on or offline.

What is Anti-Bullying Week?

Anti-Bullying Week takes place every year in November in schools across the UK. It’s a chance to raise awareness of the impact of bullying behaviour and highlight the support that organisations like The Diana Award and The Mix offer to young people who experience bullying behaviour. 

This year’s theme is #UnitedAgainstBullying, so The Diana Award and The Mix have teamed up to discuss what you can do if you experience or witness bullying behaviour and how to look after your mental health and wellbeing if you experience bullying behaviour. 

How can I look after my mental health when being bullied at school?

When you’re experiencing bullying it’s really important to look after yourself and take steps to get support. Here are some of our top tips to look after your mental health if you are experiencing bullying behaviour: 

Speak up

The most important thing you can do if you are experiencing bullying behaviour is to tell someone what is happening. This may feel daunting but it’s the first step towards finding the support you need.

Find your support network

A support network consists of several people and organisations who you could go to if you experience bullying behaviour. They could include a parent/carer, a teacher, another adult you trust, a friend, a counsellor, a support service like The Samaritans, or lots more. 

The team at The Mix are there to offer free, non-judgemental and confidential advice on any issue. Contact their helpline, crisis text line or visit their hub to get support and information about how to cope with bullying, join their online group chat or sign up for up to eight sessions of free counselling

If you’re not sure where to start, check out The Diana Award’s Support Centre for a list of helpful organisations. You can also contact The Diana Award Crisis Messenger by texting DA to 82582 – trained volunteers will listen and help you think through the next steps towards feeling better. It’s free, confidential and available 24/7 (UK only). 

Stay connected

Experiencing bullying behaviour can make you feel isolated and alone, so stay connected with people you can trust, whether it’s a friend, family member or a staff member at school. They will be able to support you and would want to know how you are feeling. If you’re struggling to use words to tell them how you’re feeling, you could write a letter, text or email in advance so you feel more prepared.

Become an activist

One of the best things you can do to help you feel empowered and connected to others is to find like-minded people who believe in the same things you do. Are you interested in climate change activism? Do you want to do more to support the Black Lives Matter movement? Or perhaps you want to get involved in some local volunteering. Why not become an Anti-Bullying Ambassador with The Diana Award by asking your school to register for their free training? Having a voice and a role in something you care about can be confidence-building, and can also help you to connect to a supportive community outside your life at school. Read this real-life story to get inspired.

Do things you enjoy

Doing activities that you enjoy will make you feel happier and relaxed which is a good way to focus on something that is positive. This can also help to lower stress and boost your mood. 

How can I get support from my school for bullying? 

Schools have a duty of care to support their students and this includes when students experience bullying behaviour. It’s important to report what has been happening to you to a teacher or another trusted member of school staff – they can help you talk through the situation and put an action plan in place to prevent it happening again.

Does your school have a Pastoral Lead or School Nurse/Counsellor who you could speak to? Remember, they are there to support you no matter what you may be going through or feeling. We also recommend speaking with your parents or carers about what has been happening at school – they can work with the school to address the behaviour together.  

If the bullying behaviour is taking place outside of school, your teachers still have a duty of care so we encourage you to report what has been happening. If you’re worried about speaking with an adult, you might find it helpful to bring friend along who can support you.

All schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy which outlines your school’s approach to tackling bullying behaviour and addressing bullying incidents. You can usually find this document on the school’s website.  

The Diana Award offers free anti-bullying training to schools across the UK – you can find letter templates here to share with your school if you’d like us to come to your school to support and/or start your anti-bullying campaign.

Where else can I find support for bullying at school?

Remember that experiencing bullying behaviour can make you feel alone but there are lots of organisations and people who can help. 

If you don’t feel able to speak with a trusted adult like a teacher, you can use The Diana Award Crisis Messenger by texting ‘DA’ to 85258. Trained volunteers will listen to how you’re feeling and help you to think about the next step towards feeling better (UK only).

You can also find support and friendship from other young people who are going through the same thing you are by joining The Mix’s online discussion boards

Read real-life bullying stories from The Mix’s community.

How can I get involved in Anti-Bullying Week?

Sign up to receive FREE pre-recorded video workshops, quizzes and resources from The Diana Award at antibullyingpro.com/antibullyingweek and share your involvement by tagging @antibullyingpro and using the hashtag #ABW2020 on social media.

The Mix would like to thank The Diana Award for their support and collaboration.

Next Steps

  • BullyingUK offers advice and support to victims of bullying. Call on 0808 800 2222.
  • Our Crisis Messenger provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you’re aged 25 or under, you can text THEMIX to 85258
  • If you're under 25 and would like free confidential telephone counselling from The Mix to help you figure things out complete this form and we'll call you to arrange your first session.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Holly Turner

Updated on 10-Nov-2020