Bullying according to the American Psychological Association abbreviated as APA, is a type of aggressive conduct through which someone either repeatedly or willingly causes discomfort or injury to another individual (Cook et al., 25). Although bullying commonly occurs in childhood, particularly in schools, its effect can stretch to adulthood. A recent survey conducted by Duke University reveals that panic disorders and agoraphobia significantly escalated with increased cases of bullying. Additionally, mental problems, for instance, low esteem, anxiety, and depression haunt a big number of individuals mostly students in schools. Therefore, when people think about students being bullied, it is easy to grasp only the physical damages imposed, through blue and black marks, cuts, and a bruised ego. However, mental effects on students bullying victims many times go unseen hence it is essential to understand various forms of bullying in schools and their effects on mental health.
Bullying in Schools
The most prominent type of bullying which occurs in schools is physical bullying. It is easily visible with little uncertainty. In schools, it can occur when a student with more influence either intellectually, physically, or socially, hurts another student to attain more control. As a result, this makes such a student bullying victim feel threatened (Bonanno & Hymel, 685). Some illustrations of physical bullying in schools encompass hitting, shoving, punching, and kicking among others. Rational bullying is another type of bullying which can happen in schools. It encompasses manipulating other students, spreading rumours, and ostracizing a learner from a certain group among others. It is used by students to escalate their social hierarchy, for instance, through controlling other students whom they think are weak. In most cases, it is used by girls and has adverse effects which make it mentally destructive. Contrast to physical bullying; rational bullying is often undetected by teachers and parents.
Cyberbullying is another type of bullying which is commonly employed by students when they access the internet and mobile phones while they are in schools. In cyberbullying, the bullies and the bullying victims exists in separate geographical locations which encourages the use of the internet and mobile phones to initiate bullying. Cyberbullying can take numerous forms such as writing nasty stories about a student on the internet, using another student picture to embarrass them publicly, or impersonating an individual online Bonanno & Hymel, 685). Additionally, sexual bullying is a significant form of bullying evident in schools. An example of sexual bullying in schools can be through sharing someone's nude images in the absence of their consent, sexual pressuring, making comments concerning someone's body, and unwanted touching. Ultimately, all these forms of bullying result in different effects on mental health not only for bullying student's victims but also to bullies.
Effects of Bullying on Mental Health
Many students as they internalize the severe impacts of bullying, they may develop stress and anxiety as some of the mental health issues. This is because when leaners become victims of bullying, the majority of their bodies tend to experience low-level stress (Rothon et al., 293). Therefore, as this occurs, it is proceeded by their nervous system becoming active which additionally makes them be at high probability of failing into stress overload. This is a serious issue since when their bodies are unable to return or reset to their normal conditions, the current stress these victims experience as a result of bullying may furthermore lead to chest pains, stomach aches, headaches, a weakened immune system, and exhaustion among others (Hymel & Swearer, 294). Emotional stress can also lead to feelings of sadness or moodiness and irritability. Also, poor attendance to victims of bullying may lead to some having insomnia and anxiety or panic attacks. This leads to additional mental health problems beyond the effect of bullying on school students. Therefore, after sustained bullying on students, it can leave learners with permanent low mood which may develop, leaving them at high risk of suffering from depression.
Bullying can also lead to depression which is a prominent mental health problem among students who are the victims of bullying. This type of depression is called as reactive depression since it caused by bullying which is an external event. According to a report on a survey conducted by The National Institute of Health, it revealed that depression was a common issue among students who experienced cyber-bullying compared to those who experienced other forms of bullying. This study concluded that these results were because cyber-bullying was executed secretly and in the absence of witnesses. Above all, this made students those students who were bullied to feel helpless and more isolated which results in depression. Therefore, according to Hymel and Swearer (293), where bullying victims are suffering from depression, they may probably start experiencing chronic aches and pains, eating and sleeping disturbances decreased energy, and lose interests in hobbies.
Sadly, this depression can make students who are bullied to lose interest in their hobbies and be withdrawn which ultimately results in increased suicidal thoughts. Additionally, some students may fear going out on their own and become anxious about living where bullying often occurs. For instance, bullying may result in suicidal thoughts in its victims primarily when they start feeling as if there no alternative resolution to the emotional or physical abuse they are experiencing due to bullying. A survey conducted at the Yale School of Medicine's Child Study Centre discovered a relationship which existed between those students who were bullied and thoughts of suicide. Other studies also revealed that students who were bullied exhibited two to nine times probability to reveal suicidal feelings compared to other children who do not school (Rothon et al., 580). Additionally, bullying perpetrators have a high probability of being depressed and having suicidal thoughts compared to normal youths. Therefore, bullying can be seen to increases suicides thoughts to its victims particularly at schools.
Bullying can take many forms which have different impacts on its victims. Mental health issues have been found to be the most crucial effects of bullying which may not be visible on its victims. They include stress and anxiety, depression, and increased suicidal thoughts. However, they are made visible by the symptoms which emerge as their result such as chest pains, stomach aches, headaches, eating and sleeping disturbances, lose interest in their hobbies, and bullying victims becoming withdrawn. Therefore, it is essential that those students who are bullied should report such cases to their teachers, parents, and other relevant authorities so as to avoid not only mental health issues associated with it but also others such as physical problems.
Bonanno, Rina A., and Shelley Hymel. "Cyberbullying and internalizing difficulties: Above and beyond the impact of traditional forms of bullying." Journal of youth and adolescence 42.5 (2013): 685-697.
Cook, Clayton R., et al. "Predictors of bullying and victimization in childhood and adolescence: A meta-analytic investigation." School psychology quarterly 25.2 (2010): 65.
Hymel, Shelley, and Susan M. Swearer. "Four decades of research on school bullying: An introduction." American Psychologist 70.4 (2015): 293.
National Institutes of Health. "Depression High Among Youth Victims of School Cyber Bullying, NIH Researchers Report." NIH News (2010).
Rothon, Catherine, et al. "Can social support protect bullied adolescents from adverse outcomes? A prospective study on the effects of bullying on the educational achievement and mental health of adolescents at secondary schools in East London." Journal of Adolescence 34.3 (2011): 579-588.
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