Effects of Bullying

Bullying can affect everyone involved—those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide. It is important to talk to kids to determine whether bullying—or something else—is a concern.

Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:

  • Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
  • Health complaints
  • Decreased academic achievement—GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.
  • A very small number of bullied children might retaliate through extremely violent measures.

Kids who bully others can also engage in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood. Kids who bully are more likely to:

  • Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults
  • Get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school
  • Engage in early sexual activity
  • Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults
  • Be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children as adults


28% of students ages 12-18 were bullied during the 2008-2009 school year

Resources - Schools

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Bullying Prevention Resources

Safe School Resources

Wisconsin Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies

Bullying of Students with Disabilities Addressed in Guidance to America’s Schools - U.S. Department of Education

Safe Schools Health Students - Since 1999, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, and Justice have collaborated on the Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) Initiative, a comprehensive model that has proven to be successful in creating safe and secure schools in individual communities across the country.

Mental Health America Back to School Resources

Bully Free: It Starts with Me - National Education Association

The BULLY Project - Project, including an educator's DVD and toolkit, launched after the release of the documentary of the same name


Resources - General

Community-Based Bullying Prevention (StopBullying.gov)

Act Now!  Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's e-learning bullying program, under their Healthy Kids Learn More program

StopBullying.gov - information on bullying prevention, response, risk factors, and how to get help (managed by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

Cyberbullying Resources Center

Now Matters Now - an online skills training method, designed to help people manage painful emotions and stressful situation


Resources - Healthcare

Roles for Pediatricians in Bullying Prevention and Intervention

How Healthcare Providers Can Prevent Bullying: A Form of Youth Violence (Medscape)

Bullying and Youth with Disabilities and Special Health Needs - StopBullying.gov


Resources - Workplace

Suggested Reading (list of books; American Psychological Association)

Workplace Bullying & Violence - Mental Health America

Stigma in the Workplace (WUMH)

Workplace bullying and common mental disorders: a follow-up study
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

© Wisconsin United for Mental Health   All rights reserved.     Privacy policy | Suicide Disclaimer | Site map | Contact | Share | Print
Toll-free: 866-WI UNITED (948-6483)