Anti-bullying awareness week

Bullying presents in many different forms and vary between demographics. It is important to recognise the consequences of bullying in order to understand the significance of why intervention is needed. For example, the transition from childhood to adulthood can be negatively impacted by the long-term effects of bullying. Adults who have been bullied report difficulty forming lasting relationships, integrating into work and being economically independent1.




Children aged 5 – 12 reported they got bullied the most for their appearance (55%), followed by body shape (37%) and race (16%)2. Other factors that can increase the likelihood of bullying occurring can include; differences in race/faith, academic ability, gender identity and a lack of assertiveness/being shy3.


A similar trend in bullying can be found in adolescents whereby appearance is the greatest risk factor for bullying (57%). Additional factors include their interests/hobbies (40%), sexuality (20%) and their disability (11%)4. Teenagers who have been bullied report having low self-esteem (23%), suffer from depression (50%) and take up smoking as a smoking as a coping mechanism5.


Other types of bullying that is more common in teenagers is cyberbullying; this is any bullying that takes place online and/or via smartphone6. In 2017, a survey found the highest rates of cyberbullying occurred on Instagram (42%), followed by Facebook (37%)7. With an increasing number of young people using social media, it worrying to see that 71% of teens believe social networks aren’t doing enough to avoid cyberbullying.




Bullying that happens in the workplace is more difficult to define. It is likely that several cases get unnoticed and therefore aren’t reported. Despite this, it’s believed that the rate of ill-treatment in the workplace is increasing in Britain. In 1998, 7% of employers reported receiving incidents relating to workplace bullying; this percentage rose to 11% in 20118.


What does workplace bullying look like?


Personal accounts from employees have reported they had experienced bullying in the form of:9




Overall health is poorer in children and adults who have been bullied. This is believed to be due to an alteration in physiological response to stress in these individuals. This can increase the risk of developing various mental health disorders. Early childhood bullying has been linked to the development of:10

–          Borderline personality disorder (BPD)

–          Psychotic experiences (e.g. hallucinations and delusions)

–          Depression and/or anxiety, as well as suicidal ideations and attempts


Other effects include:

–          Adults who have been bullied in childhood are more likely to earn less than their peers at the age of 50.

–          In 2011, 16,000 young people missed school due to bullying in the UK. This is likely to result in lower educational qualifications and difficulty managing finance.




When you see someone being bullied, it can also be distressing for you – only intervene when it’s safe. Don’t put yourself in danger by confronting the bully; almost half the time, challenging the bully can worsen the situation. Instead, it is more effective if you spend time with the victim and talk to them. Allowing them to have a safe space to talk about their circumstances can improve the situation by up to 41%11. 


If you see someone being bullied online, one quick fix to help combat this is to report the comment/profile, which can help block the bully from the site. However, it’s also important to encourage young people to tell an adult if they are being bullied. This has proven to be the most successful strategy in dealing with the situation. It is also vital to ensure the right intervention is given for an effective outcome12. Checking in with the young person after some time to see if the bullying has stopped is an effective start to improving the situation.





Falling back in time

It’s that time of year again, when the clocks go back signalling the end of British Summer Time. For many this has meant an extra hour asleep, but for some the change can have a significant impact on their quality of sleep.


Lack of sleep can affect our mental and physical health, increasing the risk of strokes, diabetes and dementia, as well as stress and depression.


Below are some tips to help you sleep better.


Sleep tips info

Suicide awareness

 If you feel you need urgent help or know someone who does call 999 or go to your nearest A&E department. 

Suicide awareness infographic






World Suicide Prevention Day



Everyday we ask each other ‘How are you doing?’, but do we actually pay attention to the response or are we simply expecting the socially acceptable answer – ‘fine’. In a busy society, we are happy to keep this conversation on a basic level – someone asks the question and we respond positively. However, how many times have you said you are fine when you’re not?


Every year more than 6000 people in the UK and the Republic Of Ireland die by suicide, an average of 18 per day1. Globally, 2,191 people die from suicide every day2. Putting this into context, that is one person every 40 seconds, so by the time you finish reading this article another person will have taken their own life.


Identifying that someone is suicidal is difficult, however, there are warning signs to look out for. These can include3:


• lacking energy or appearing particularly tired
• appearing more tearful
• not wanting to talk or be with people
• not wanting to do things they usually enjoy
• a change in routine, such as sleeping or eating more or less than normal
• using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
• finding it hard to cope with everyday things
• appearing restless and agitated
• reporting that you feel hopeless about the future or that you’ve nothing to look forward to
• not liking or taking care of themselves or feeling they don’t matter
• being un-typically clumsy or accident prone
• becoming withdrawn or losing touch with friends and family
• making preparations, such as sorting a will
• sudden calmness
• feeling like a burden or hopeless


And of course, reporting that they feel suicidal or wish they were no longer here. Any reports of suicidal feelings or thoughts should always be taken seriously and never dismissed.






Help is always available 24/7:
• Contact the Samaritans on 116 123
• Contact NHS 111
• Speak to someone you trust, this could be a friend, family member or work colleague.
• Make an urgent appointment to see your GP


If you are concerned about someone else, encourage them to talk. It can be difficult to reach out, but the important thing is to start the conversation. For tips on how to start a conversation visit Find out more about warning signs and ways to help on the NHS website.


So, next time you ask, ‘How are you doing?’, wait for the response and question if what the person is saying feels authentic. Follow it up. Taking a second to check on someone and make them feel like someone cares is always a good thing.





This week the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed ‘gaming disorder’ in the latest International Classification of Diseases (ICD), in a move which has generated quite a lot of discussion.


WHO defines gaming disorder as ‘…a pattern of gaming behaviour (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.


For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.’1


Although WHO states that only a small number of gamers are affected, should we all be looking at our gaming activity?


As a mobile phone gamer, I personally know the allure of ‘just one more level’ and being unaware that that quick game, has actually turned into an hour-long session. Although most gamers aren’t letting gaming take over your lives, relationships, jobs etc…, there are a number of health issues which can occur. An example of this is disturbed sleep, which has been linked to increasing the risk of developing several health conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes. (NHS2).


There are also the risks associated with a sedentary life. A recent report by the British Hearth Foundation3 estimated that 39% of UK adults do not meet recommends for physical activity, again increasing the chance of developing high risk health conditions, such as strokes, and even premature death.


So maybe we all need to look at how much time we spend gaming and evaluate our own personal risks. For me, although I’m not a gaming addict, it’s probably time to put down the phone and dig out the trainers.


Who’s going to join me?