How to help someone being bullied

People who are being bullied can feel really distressed and it can have a serious impact on their life and health. In very serious cases bullying could lead to self harming, or even suicidal thoughts. Often other people don't realise the effect that bullying has when it goes on day in day out. You may be wondering how you can help someone who is experiencing bullying. 

man looking stressed out

Bullying can be so upsetting and cause such distress that people may need to seek help from a doctor.  Bullying can sometimes lead to self harm or eating disorders, particularly if the bullying is focused is relentless. In some cases bullying can also lead to suicidal thoughts.

There are usually quite a lot of pointers that someone is being bullied and if you see or hear any of them you're in a good position to help.

How to tell if someone is being bullied

  • Is anyone in your class or workplace taking a lot of time off, getting to school or work late, trying to avoid being in situations like the toilets, communal areas or changing rooms?
  • Do you hear someone calling them names, not loudly, but so that they will overhear?
  • Are rumours being spread about them, in person or online?
  • Are they being left out of things socially?
  • Are they spending breaks on their own?

If so then you already know someone who is being bullied. You might be worried that if you do something about it, the bully might pick on you next but there are lots of things you can do to help.

What you should do to help someone being bullied

  • If you are at school, let a teacher know what you suspect 
  • If you are in a workplace, maybe let your colleague know that you are there for them
  • Go with the person being bullied and back up what they say to the teacher
  • Tell the person being bullied that you'll can help them to tell their parents 
  • Tell your parents or an adult you trust 
  • Agree with your friends that you will all make it clear to the person doing the bullying that you don't like what they're doing
  • Keep a diary of what you see going on so that you can give a reliable account of what has been happening

If you tell a teacher what has happened then the bully shouldn't find out that you've done that. The teacher should be able to quietly alert other teachers and keep an eye on the situation so that the bully is caught red handed and has only themselves to blame.

If the bullying is at work, you may be able to take the person to the side and let them know that you are there to support them. If it is possible, ensure they are not left along during breaks and show solidarity. We do appreciate if the bullying is from management, it can be really hard to tackle this but you can show them our advice on workplace bullying so they can feel empowered to get some help.


This page was updated on January 2020


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