Rachel from our Wellbeing Team tells us more about Anti-Bullying Week, bullying and support for Cardiff students …
This week is Anti-bullying week. Bullying is something we often associate with school and growing up. As a child or teenager, it’s very likely that either you were bullied, or you knew somebody else that was. Young Minds state that ‘as many as 70% of all young people have experienced some form of bullying’.
The sad fact is that, as we grow up, bullying still remains – at university, in the workplace, at home – and sometimes we aren’t even aware what is happening or of the effect it’s having on us.
How do I know if I am being bullied?
It may be that you find that when you are with certain people you always feel down. Perhaps they are making fun of you or saying horrible things, perhaps you feel excluded and left out or it could be that you are being threatened – ‘if you don’t come over, I’ll post this photo of you on social media’. Alternatively, bullying can be physical. Is someone being violent towards you? Pushing, pinching, and punching you?
Bullying can occur because of a specific target. So, for example, someone may bully you if you are a different sexual orientation to them, because of your ethnic origin or because of your size.
Anyone can be bullied and, sometimes, there is no reason at all.
The bottom line is – it is not your fault.
How might it affect me?
Being bullied can affect our mental health. We can internalise how we are treated by others and think it is our own fault: ‘I should’ve done this’, ‘why don’t they like me?’ or ‘perhaps if I do this…’ Hearing criticism from others can affect our self-worth and cause our own self-critical and negative thoughts. It can be hard to avoid harsh words – we take them on board, believing their words to be true and so we can start thinking negatively about ourselves. Negative thoughts lead us to feel negative emotions such as sad, anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed, which can then affect how we behave. For example, we might want to stay in a lot more and be on our own as this feels safe but actually it can leave us feeling more isolated, alone and unloved.
What can I do if I’m being bullied?
- Talk to somebody.
- Seek help and support.
- Find someone you can trust and who will listen to you non-judgementally.
- It could be a friend/family member, a tutor/supervisor, your GP or a counsellor at the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service.
What can I do if my friend is being bullied?
- Listen to your friend and show them that you care.
- Give them time and space to talk through what is happening and how they are feeling without asking too many questions or passing judgement.
- Let them know that this isn’t their fault.
- If you can, try and include your friend in your own social groups to increase their confidence.
- If you see your friend being bullied, and if it is safe to do so, say something to stick up for them such as ‘what you said just then wasn’t kind or helpful and it could hurt someone’s feelings’. Only do this if you are sure that the situation won’t become worse and that you or your friend won’t be in more danger by doing so.
- Support your friend to speak with someone else. So again, this could be with a family member, a tutor/supervisor, Student Advice at Student’s Union or with a Counsellor at Student Support
We are here to help
Our Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service are located at 50 Park Place. We are here to help you with any problem, regardless of how big or small you feel the problem might be. We have friendly and approachable staff who are able to listen to you non-judgmentally, in a safe and confidential space. Please access our drop-in from Monday-Friday 3-3:45pm for a 10-15 non-bookable appointment to have an initial chat with us or complete our online referral questionnaire.
Counselling, Health & Wellbeing Team
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.