Being on the receiving end of bullying can have a devastating effect on one’s mental health, leading to anxiety, stress and even severe depression and, while a recent survey suggests the anxiety and depression caused by childhood bullying decreases over time, it is important to seek help for bullying.
The University College London study of 11,000 twins found anxiety problems were still present two years on, but had disappeared after five years, the BBC reported. But it added that ‘minimising the effects of bullying’ in schools was very important. Psychiatrists said bullying could have serious effects on young people’s mental health for a long time.
By surveying more than 11,000 twins at the age of 11, 14 and 16, researchers were able to look at the associations between bullying and mental health. They said bullying was only partly to blame for the mental health problems experienced by bullied children but could cause anxiety, depression, hyperactivity and other behavioural problems.
And the researchers, writing in JAMA Psychiatry, said the results showed the potential for resilience in children exposed to bullying.
Study author Jean-Baptiste Pingault, from the division of psychology and language sciences at UCL, said the findings offered a message of hope.
“Bullying certainly causes suffering, but the impact on mental health decreases over time, so children are able to recover in the medium term,” he said. “In addition to interventions aimed at stopping bullying from happening, we should also support children who have been bullied by supporting resilience processes on their path to recovery.”
One way to treat mental health issues like stress and anxiety, as well as addressing self-esteem issues which might be brought about by bullying, is through clinical hypnotherapy and the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) has more than 1,800 therapists across the UK who can offer help.
The NCH is the largest not-for-profit professional organisation for clinical hypnotherapy in the UK and all therapists on its register are highly-trained, qualified and insured. Many specialise in dealing with children and all are competent in treating stress and anxiety issues.
Lending a sympathetic ear, the hypnotherapist will listen to the concerns of the client, in this case the person being bullied, and will discuss with them how they feel then and how they would like to feel in that environment if not bullied.
The therapist will then work with the person to reach their goals using a range of different techniques. Every therapist may use slightly different techniques, but working towards the same goal.
“After sessions with a hypnotherapist you may feel more confident; more relaxed in situations that have previously challenged you,” says the NCH, adding that after a few sessions of hypnotherapy, people tend to be more relaxed and more confident – even in an environment which was previously challenging.
Reacting to the survey, Bernadka Dubicka, from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said there were many reasons why young people developed mental health difficulties, and schools had a role to play.
Children and young people needed access to specialist mental health professions who could provide the right services to meet their needs, she said.