How to deal with bullies at school

Having a bully at school can be really tough to deal with. From constant fear to questioning yourself, there are loads of problems that can stem from bullying. As part of our efforts to stop bullying, we’ve partnered with The Diana Award to put together a guide for how to deal with bullies at school.

A young woman is figuring out how to deal with bullies. This image is a drawing.

The impact of being bullied at school

A recent poll commissioned by The Diana Award and Nationwide Building Society revealed that almost half (46%) of young people have experienced some type of bullying behaviour at school:

  • Over half (54%) said it negatively affected their mental health and well-being.
  • More than three quarters (78%) said they constantly felt anxious as a result.
  • Almost half (44%) said it affected their ability to sleep at night.
  • Sadly, 14% wanted to self-harm and 9% felt suicidal.
  • Almost three quarters (67%) of young people have seen or heard bullying behaviour in their school in the last year.

What is Anti-Bullying Week?

Anti-Bullying Week takes place every November in schools across the UK. It’s a chance to raise awareness of the impact of bullying behaviour and work towards stopping bullying. One of the ways it does this is by highlighting 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. That’s why 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 in the aftermath.

How to look after your mental health when being bullied at school

When you’re being bullied at school and/or elsewhere it’s really important to look after yourself and take steps to get support. Here are some of our top tips for looking after your mental health in these types of situations

Speak up

The most important thing you can do if you’re experiencing any type of bullying behaviour is to let someone know what’s happening. We get why this may feel daunting, or even impossible at times. But it’s the first step towards finding the support you need. For children and young people, school should feel like a safe space. Unfortunately, when a young person or a child is being bullied that just isn’t the case.

Stay connected

Trying to figure out how to deal with bullies at school can make you feel isolated and alone. So it’s important to stay connected with people you can trust during this time. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend, family member or a staff member at school, or even someone you met through The Mix chatroom. As long as you’re talking to someone.

Become an activist

One of the best things you can do to help yourself feel empowered and connected to work for a cause. 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? 

Any of these things are great options. Plus, having a voice and a role in something you care about can be confidence-building. You might even find yourself having stronger, more confident body language as a result. Read this real-life story to get inspired.

Bullying support from The Mix

The team at The Mix are there to offer free, non-judgemental and confidential advice on any issue that you’re facing. 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. Alternatively, you can sign up for up to eight sessions of free counselling. 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 they’ll call you to arrange your first session.

Plus, you can check out their article on how to beat bullying here. Or read real-life stories about what it’s like to experience bullying from The Mix’s community and some stories about some inspirational people who overcame bullying.

If you’re not sure where to start, a great place to check out is 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 to you and help plan the next steps towards feeling better. It’s free, confidential and available 24/7 (UK only). 

How your school can help you deal with bullies

How to deal with bullies at school? Don’t do it alone.

Does your school have a Pastoral Lead or School Nurse/ Guidance Counsellor who you could speak to? Remember, they’re 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. That way you’ll have as much support as possible. 

How to deal with bullies outside of school

If the bullying behaviour is happening and/or continuing outside of school, your teachers still have an obligation to look into it. So we really encourage you to report what has been happening. If you’re worried about speaking with an adult, you might find it helpful to bring a friend along who can be there for moral support.

Fun fact: All schools are actually 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. 

Not to mention, The Diana Award offers free anti-bullying training to schools across the UK. You can find letter templates here if you’d like us to come to your school to support and/or start your anti-bullying campaign.

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. You can also 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 16-Jun-2022