The impact of bullying

Bullying can impact on a child’s mental and physical health, sometimes leading to heightened levels of anxiety and depression. Some children and young people may self harm and have suicidal thoughts.

Bullying and trauma

There is growing evidence that bullying can lead to  post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Research from the USA suggests that for children who had experienced bullying, 27.6% of boys and 40.5% of girls had PTSD scores within the clinical range. 

Symptoms of trauma include:

  • flashbacks or nightmares
  • avoidance
  • heightened anxiety and a sense of being on guard
  • anger
  • difficulty with sleeping and eating
  • depression

I'm worried about the impact of bullying on my child. What should I do?

Speak to the GP

If you have concerns about your child it is important that you share your concerns with your GP as soon as possible. Your GP may make a referral to Child and Adolescent Mental Health services for support. You may also want to consider sourcing your own counselling support, and you can do this through the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

Contact the school nursing service

It could be helpful to speak to the school nursing service, as they may support they could offer to your child and could help liaise with the school.  You can find the details by typing you Local Authority and ‘school nursing service’ into a search engine. 

The school may also have a counselling service or staff rained in mental health support.  For more information on school’s duties in regards to mental health, see Mental health and behaviour in schools. 

If you are considering moving your child to a different school as a result of bullying, it is important to be aware of the long-term impact of bullying, and to consider whether they would benefit from counselling and additional support even if they are removed from the situation.  

Help them to manage stress and anxiety

You may also find it helpful to support your child to take part in activities that help to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. Useful links include Grace to Restore,  and Suzy Reading.  

What if I'm worried about suicide and self-harm?

The charity Papyrus-UK have a range of practical advice for supporting young people who may be suicidal. You can also contact the Young Minds Parent Helpline on 0808 802 5544. 

Additional information and support 


Tackling Trauma

Child Trauma Recovery 

Services for young people: 


The Mix - Essential support for under 25s 

Kooth (operates in some local authorities) 

YoungMinds Textline 

Meic (helpline for under 25s in Wales)

MeeToo Mental Help 

Support for parents:

YoungMinds (parent helpline)

Parenting Mental Health 

Parent Advice Line

Guidance and support for parents and carers 

Find out more

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