Six tips to help you deal with bullying

Last reviewed on 8 November 2021

Is someone picking on you or spreading rumours at school? Are you receiving nasty comments on your social channels? Have you been teased or harassed in the street? Unfortunately, you’re not alone. According to a 2020 survey by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, a third of 11 to 16-year-olds in England said they had been bullied over the last six months.

Bullying can happen in lots of ways. You might be bullied because of your race, sexual identity or something else. The bullying might be verbal or physical. It might happen online (cyberbullying) or in person. There might be one individual bullying you or a group of people. Whatever your situation, it’s important that you know what action you can take and how to look after yourself.

We know it can sometimes be difficult to tell when a joke or banter tips over into something more serious so you might find this definition of bullying helpful: “Bullying is the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. It can happen face to face or online.”

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As London’s digital mental wellbeing service, Good Thinking is here to help if you’re feeling sad, scared or stressed out because of bullying. We’ve put together these tips to mark #AntiBullyingWeek 2021 (15-19 November), the theme of which is ‘One Kind Word’. We also recommend checking out the free Clear Fear, Feeling Good Teens and Move Mood apps to help build your self-esteem and resilience and you might like to listen to our podcast about bullying with Alex Holmes of The Diana Award and actor Will Poulter who is currently preparing for his Marvel superhero role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

At this time more than ever, it’s a good idea to remember that kindness goes a long way and that it’s never acceptable to be a bully. As the Anti-Bullying Alliance says, “One Kind Word can be a turning point. It can change someone’s perspective. It can change their day. It can change the course of a conversation and break the cycle of bullying. Best of all, one kind word leads to another. Kindness fuels kindness. We can all play a part in a chain reaction that powers positivity.”

If you’re being bullied, we hope you find the tips below helpful (they are based on advice from experts at the Anti-Bullying Alliance). If you’re concerned for your safety (e.g. if you’re experiencing physical, emotional or sexual abuse), tell someone you trust or call Childline on 0800 1111.

Find out how you can support #AntiBullyingWeek by saying ‘one kind word’ to someone you know or getting involved on TikTok or other social channels.


Could you talk to one of your parents or carers? Have a chat with your brother, sister or a friend? Or confide in one of your teachers or another adult you trust? There are lots of people who can support you and you’ll hopefully feel much better once you’ve told them. If you’d rather speak to someone you don’t know, call Childline on 0800 1111.

Write down what happened, when it happened, who bullied you, who saw it happen and how it made you feel. If you’re being bullied online, take screen shots of any texts, emails or social media posts and save any photos or videos – then block the bully in your app settings. Records of any bullying incidents will be really useful if you decide to report the bully to your school, a social media provider or the police.

When someone’s being nasty to you, it can be really tempting to behave the same way. On social media, you might even find that other people are pressuring you to behave in ways you wouldn’t normally. The best thing to do is to take a step back – don’t respond or retaliate. Stay calm and tell someone you trust so that they can support you. If you see someone else being bullied, it’s OK to stick up for them but try not to get drawn into any bullying behaviour yourself.

Friends should always have your back so, if someone is bullying you, it’s time to move on. Focus on the people who make you laugh and who make you feel safe. If you’re being bullied online, could you take some time away from your phone and other devices? Try to meet up with your friends in real life and do something fun together.

There are many reasons why someone bullies someone else. They might have things going on at home that make them feel sad or they might have been bullied themselves, for example. You might even find that a friend or partner becomes a bully. It’s not personal – they might not even realise they are hurting you. Just remember, it is never your fault that you’re being bullied.

Don’t let anyone bring you down. We’re all unique so do what makes you happy and enjoy your life. Focus on your hobbies and interests or start doing something new. Stay positive and be proud!

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