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Bullying and Mental Health in Children and Young People.

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Presentation on theme: "Bullying and Mental Health in Children and Young People."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bullying and Mental Health in Children and Young People

2 Learning outcomes Aim of this session To provide an overview on the links between bullying and mental health, to enable you to deal effectively with these issues within a school Objectives Understand the actions that can be taken to prevent and respond to bullying of children with mental health issues Feel more informed and confident in addressing mental health and whole-school bullying issues Feel more confident and capable of safeguarding children and young people with mental health issues How will we achieve this? Reflect on your current knowledge and beliefs Discuss and debate with colleagues

3 Overview Importance of discussion and debate in this session Key messages Bullying: the what, where, when and who Bullying, mental health and school Effective practice:

4 Key messages Children who are bullied and/or bully others are more likely to have mental health issues Children who bully others have often been bullied Bullying can have a detrimental impact on a child’s mental health There are specific issues to consider when responding to bullying of children who have mental health issues

5 Q: What do you think bullying is?

6 What is bullying? ABA (Anti-Bullying Alliance) defines bullying as: the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power bullying can be physical, verbal or psychological it can happen face-to-face or through cyberspace “You used to be able to go in to school, get your head down, and have different friends outside of school. You could separate it. Now you can’t.”

7 Who is involved? Who are the children that bully? Who are the children being bullied?

8 Characteristics of those involved “There was so much going on in my life, that sometimes the only way to feel strong or powerful was to bully other people.” Been bullied before Self- preservation Reaction to stress Lack of understanding religion disability weakness different

9 Q: Where do you think bullying occurs?

10 Where does bullying occur? In school - particularly in places where there is little or no supervision and where young people can be isolated In lessons - both by other children and young people, and by teachers In the home - by parents, carers or siblings, with this affecting their behaviour or well- being in school On the journeys to and from school In the community Cyber-bullying

11 Q: What mental health issues do you think are common in schoolchildren?

12 Mental health 1 in 10 children are thought to have mental health problems, such as: – Depression – Anxiety – Eating disorders – Self-harming Parents and children may be reluctant to share information with the school due to stigma

13 Possible signs of mental health difficulties Change in school performance Loss of interest in usual friends Change in behaviour – quieter or more unruly Change in weight Signs of self- harming

14 Q: What is the relationship between bullying and mental health?

15 Bi-directional relationship Bullying Mental health Young person develops mental health issues as a result of being bullied

16 Impact of bullying on mental health Bullying Mental health Anxiety Depression Self- harm Suicidal thoughts Self- esteem “[Bullying] wears down their confidence, their self-esteem, until they’re quite depressed, low. And also it leaves them feeling very isolated. Which is why people don’t reach out for help with bullying.” Being bullied Bullying others

17 Impact of mental health on bullying Bullying Mental health Anxiety Depression Self- harm Suicidal thoughts Self- esteem Being bullied Bullying others “If you self harm or have, like, an eating disorder, and your peers know about it, then they see you differently. It can make you a target.”

18 How does the school environment influence this complex relationship? Bullying Mental health School Teachers low expectations Changing or avoiding school Poor response Lack of understanding within school positive negative Mental health education identification Non- stigmatising of mental health Support for mental health

19 What can you do to minimise the impact? Effective practice can be grouped into three broad categories: Communicate Anticipate Respond Lets explore the issues…

20 Communicate What can we learn about effective communication from these thoughts from young people? “You want to know that they won’t tell anyone, so you feel secure.” “[After I had talked about the bullying and nothing happened] I started to get really angry. They [teachers] hadn’t listened. Made me feel I couldn’t talk to anyone. I started to get really angry and taking it out on my [family] at home, because no one had listened to me.”

21 Anticipate What can we learn about anticipating risk? “In films and stuff it’s like one on one in the corridor, but like these days, it’s more like groups and you feel like everyone is surrounding you and stuff, which makes it harder to spot, because if it was one to one and you saw them... but in a group, they do it in a way that a teacher can’t see. Looks like friendship from the outside.” “Teachers need to pick up on that [isolation and vulnerability] and take an active role in asking, rather than waiting to be told. I think especially with young people with mental health, I think a lot are less likely to come forward and say ‘I’m being bullied’ and say this is what’s happening to me. Teachers need to be on the look out. To intervene.”

22 Respond What can we learn about effective responding from these thoughts from young people? “I think the worst thing teachers can do is if you say there’s a problem and they say, ‘OK I’ll talk to them’ then it makes it worse. Because you’re like I told you confidence and now it looks a hundred times worse.” “It’s all played out on this big stage, so you’re like ‘everyone will know I’ve gone and told, everyone will think I’m a snitch.’ I’m going to get picked on more.”

23 Effective practice will: Provide support to enable the young person to develop and try out ways of dealing with the bullying, before further intervention from others Be proactive in noticing changes in children and young people’s behaviour and approaching them to offer care, time and support Identify bullying that is going unrecognised and unreported – Be alert to the signs – Watch out for those at risk Ensure young people are supported with their mental health Listen when bullying is reported Consider the needs of both the victim and the bully Ensure your language and behaviour does not stigmatise mental health – E.g. using the word crazy Use positive rewards to improve self-esteem

24 Whole school actions Whole school policy on bullying – Interventions and responding Teaching and learning about mental health Support for children with mental health Challenge stigma – non-discriminatory language and environment

25 Effective practice will: Ensure young people know where to go and who to speak to about bullying Provide support for the bully as well as the victim Detect and monitor bullying Treat any report of bullying as valid Promote positive school-wide ethos towards mental health issues

26 Key messages (repeated!) Children who are bullied and/or bully others are more likely to have mental health issues Children who bully others have often been bullied Bullying can have a detrimental impact on a child’s mental health There are specific issues to consider when responding to bullying of children who have mental health issues


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