Bullying has serious and lasting effects. While these effects may also be caused by other factors, research has found bullying has significant effects for those who are bullied, those who bully others, and those who witness bullying.

People Who are Bullied: 
  • Have higher risk of depression and anxiety, including the following symptoms, that may persist into adulthood:
  • Increased feelings of sadness and loneliness
  • Changes in sleep and eating patterns
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Have increased thoughts about suicide that may persist into adulthood. In one study, adults who recalled being bullied in youth were 3 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts or inclinations.
  • Are more likely to have health complaints. In one study, being bullied was associated with physical health status 3 years later.
  • Have decreased academic achievement (GPA and standardized test scores) and school participation.
  • Are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.
  • Are more likely to retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.

People Who Bully Others:
  • Have a higher risk of abusing alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults.
  • Are more likely to get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school.
  • Are more likely to engage in early sexual activity.
  • Are more likely to have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults. In one study, 60% of boys who bullied others in middle school had a criminal conviction by age 24.
  • Are more likely to be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses or children as adults.

People Who Witness Bullying:
  • Have increased use of tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.
  • Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
  • Are more likely to miss or skip school.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
  • Consider how they must feel. If it seems like you are hurting them at all, stop.
  • Ask the person being bullied how they feel. Maybe they are afraid or too embarrassed to say something.
  • Do not let your friends bully others. If your friends are bullying others, help them see how they are hurting others.

Make it Right
  • Apologize. Sometimes telling someone you are sorry can go a long way.
  • Focus on doing things differently from now on. Although you cannot change what has happened, you can change how you treat others in the future.
Get Help
  • Talk with an adult. They may have good ideas about what you can do to change how you treat others.
  • Ask for help. Seeing a counselor or a health professional may be helpful. Sometimes it is good to talk with someone who is not personally involved to help you find solutions. 
Take a Stand Against Bullying

Everyone has the right to feel safe in their school and community. If you see someone being bullied, you have the power to stop it.

By standing up for someone who is being bullied, you are not just helping someone else; you are also helping yourself. It is important to help others when you can.

What to Do When Someone is Being Bullied 
  • Take a stand and do not join in. Make it clear that you do not support what is going on.
  • Do not watch someone being bullied. If you feel safe, tell the person to stop. If you do not feel safe saying something, walk away and get others to do the same. If you walk away and do not join in, you have taken their audience and power away.
  • Support the person being bullied. Tell them that you are there to help. Offer to either go with them to report the bullying or report it for them.
  • Talk to an adult you trust. Talking to someone could help you figure out the best ways to deal with the problem. Reach out to a parent, teacher or another adult that you trust to discuss the problem, especially if you feel like the person may be at risk of serious harm to themselves or others.

Work to Prevent Bullying

Bullying is less likely to occur when there are strong messages against it. Work with your school, community, or other groups to create and support these messages:
  • Get involved with your school and community to find ways to prevent bullying.
  • Create an assembly, performance, or event to spread the message.
  • Be a leader and teach younger kids that bullying is not okay and that they can stop bullying before it begins.