How Bullying Impacts Teenage Mental Health

The long-lasting impact of teenage mental health from bullying can be significant. Being bullied, especially as a teenager, can not only be humiliating, but it can also be extremely detrimental to your child’s self-worth.

Generations earlier have failed to realize the emotional damage and consequences that hurtful and harmful words have on young people — the old cliché that sticks and stones will break your bones, but words could never hurt is now history. Words hurt and can leave a trail of emotional scars for years if not addressed.

Signs of teen bullying:

PexelBullyingTeen-Sadness, anxiety
-Withdrawn, avoiding friends
-Skipping classes, school refusal, poor academic performance
-Trouble sleeping
-Change of appetite
-Physically not feeling well (frequent headaches, stomach aches)
-Possibly self-medicating (substance use)

Bullying is not always at school, it can be at their activities such as sports, dance, gymnastics or any extra-curriculum. Or possibly at a part-time job or community center where they volunteer. Bullying is mean and hurtful behavior that happens repeatedly. Studies have proven that the psychological impact of teen bullying can last well into adulthood if it’s not addressed.

If your teen is being bullied it is likely they feel angry, helpless, lonely, hopeless, and isolated from their peers. Bullying victims tend to experience a wide range of emotions that can prevent them from attending classes or refusing to go to school. In some situations, the target of bully will turn to drugs or alcohol to numb their pain or even have dark thoughts of ending their life.

How Bullying Impacts Teenage Mental Health

1. Depression.

Teens that are bullied by other students at school are more likely to develop depression. Some of the common signs include appetite changes, trouble sleeping, emotional disturbances, and possibly thoughts of suicide. You may notice they start isolating themselves from friends and even family events. They lose interest in their favorite activities and possibly drop out of their sports or other extra-curriculum that they once enjoyed.

2. Anxiety.

Many young people are already struggling with anxiety, however students that are being bullied are more likely to develop anxiety issues. This makes it harder for them to form relationships with friends, peers and teachers. If bullying persists, the anxiety can become so intense that your teen may not want to go to school or participate in school-related activities such as field trips. The bullying literally paralyzing them with fear increasing teenage mental health concerns.

3. Self-harm and suicide ideation.

If your teen is a target of a bully, they can struggle with the emotional pain for years after it ended — including thoughts of suicide. To cope with these negative consequences, some teens even resort to self-harming behaviors like cutting or burning themselves. Research shows that experiencing bullying is associated with an increased risk of self-harming behavior in young people.

Both bullying and cyberbullying are concerns for parents of teenagers today. Since the 2020 cyberbullying has increased by 40 percent, which is causing the more mental health concerns for teenagers.

Keeping your lines of communication open with your teenager is priority. Simply by knowing the signs of bullying and cyberbullying is the first step. It is likely your teen will not tell you if they are being bullied — parents need to be aware of their child’s emotional needs. All teens can be moody, but a parent will have their intuition when something is not right.

Also read:

What Causes Teen Mental Health Issues?

Goals of Therapeutic Boarding Schools.

The Effects of Cyberbullying.


If your teen is struggling with emotional issues either from being bullied, harassed, depression or otherwise and you have exhausted your local resources, contact us for a free consultation to learn about the benefits of therapeutic boarding schools. 

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