The Mental and Physical Health Impact of Bullying | Corona, CA

Bullying is unfortunately a frequent occurrence. A survey of teenagers by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 20% had been the victim of bullying during the previous year, while figures collected by the Workplace Bullying Institute showed almost a quarter of employees had experienced bullying at some point in their careers. Not only does bullying have a huge emotional impact for those on the receiving end, but it can have a significant adverse effect on health, both in terms of current and future health. Beyond the injuries sustained if bullying takes a physical form, as a whole being bullied can influence everything from mental health to how strong your immune system is and whether you will develop chronic diseases in the future.
Impact on mental well-being

Anyone who has ever been bullied knows the stress that it can bring to your life. Levels of anxiety rise, as you are worried what might happen next; you become fearful to go to school or the office, which can in itself result in increased absences, and for some people they may develop panic attacks. This anxiety also leads to insomnia and disturbed sleep, which not only impacts on how we perform at school or work the next day, but how we feel as well. Low mood is another consequence of bullying, which may progress to depression; this type of depression is often called reactive depression, as it is the result of an external factor. When your mood is depressed you tend to lose interest in activities you previously enjoyed and withdraw, preferring not to go out, which can exacerbate these feelings; loss of confidence and reduced self-esteem, which often accompany bullying, also contribute to your change in outlook. In the worst cases, the depression will be so severe that those people affected may contemplate suicide; research by Yale University has indicated that the victims of bullying can be up to nine times more likely to commit suicide. The impact of bullying on mental well-being isn’t just a short-term problem, as even if this occurred during childhood, a study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry found they were significantly more likely to suffer from poor mental health as an adult.

Changes in the body as a result of stress

Feelings of fear that develop as a result of bullying trigger the body’s fight-flight response, which developed to help us to escape from danger. The body increases its production of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which trigger a number of changes within the body. Your heart beats faster, your blood vessels constrict, your muscles become more tense and the body mobilizes your energy stores for use as fuel; all of these are designed to prepare your body to take action. At the same time your body shuts down processes that are no help to it when a fight-flight response is needed, instead diverting away the energy that would have gone into processes such as digestion, immune function and supporting the reproductive system. This response by the body was only designed to be short lived, but when bullying is a problem, it is activated more frequently and for a longer duration than nature intended. Although it is yet to be proven, it is thought that the daily stresses felt by the body are largely responsible for the ill health that occurs as a result of bullying.

Pain as a symptom

General muscle pain and headaches, which have no physical cause, is commonly experienced by those who are bullied. It is thought that the stress response is responsible for this, triggering feelings of tension. However, muscle breakdown and wasting can also occur with prolonged stress, as the body prepares to use the amino acids released from the muscle tissue as fuel. A condition known as fibromyalgia, characterized by long-term widespread pain through the body, is more commonly seen in people who have experienced significant stress.

Stress disrupts digestive function

Abdominal pain, nausea and altered bowel habits are commonly reported by people who have experienced bullying and are both thought to be the cause of a slowdown in digestion. Irritable bowel syndrome, which affects around 10% of the general population, is commonly associated with stress, which exacerbates its symptoms. A reduction in appetite may accompany the symptoms of digestive upset or may occur as a result of low mood; as a result weight loss is a sign amongst some people who have been bullied, though others may turn to food for comfort and experience weight gain.

Illness as a result of impaired immune function

A weakened immune system not only leaves us more vulnerable to infection, but a number of other diseases are thought to occur as a result of a malfunction within the immune system.  Studies show that when stressful situations are more prevalent, colds, flu, sore throats and chest infections are more likely to occur, as our white blood cells are not adequately prepared to fight the bacteria and viruses that cause these before they take hold. Some autoimmune diseases, where the immune system attacks its own tissues, are more likely to occur after a viral infection – examples include type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis – so this might explain why stress is sometimes implicated in their development. Chronic fatigue syndrome – characterized by extreme tiredness, altered mood and senses, as well as general aches and pains – may also be triggered by a virus and commonly occurs in people who have experienced stressful situations. Altered immune function additionally makes us more susceptible to the development of allergies and as altered cells are also able to pass more easily through the body’s surveillance system without being detected and destroyed, cancer is more likely to occur; both appear more commonly when stress has been an issue.

Increased risk of heart disease

Stress is a known risk factor for heart disease and indeed research indicates that those who have been bullied are more likely to develop cardiovascular problems; in one study the odds of a worker who was bullied developing heart disease was more than twice that of someone who wasn’t bullied. This may relate to the fact that stress raises blood pressure, cholesterol levels and inflammation within the body, all of which contribute to heart disease risk. Workers who have been stressed as a result of bullying may also use comfort eating as a way of coping and these food choices may further influence the development of heart disease, particularly if they select those high in fat and salt.

The sooner bullying can be dealt with, the better the outcome for someone’s long-term health. The implementation of anti-bullying policies within schools, colleges and workplaces plays a vital role towards this.

For more information about how you can help call us at 866-459-7225 or visit our website at

S.A.C.K. also proudly serves Lake Elsinore, Riverside, Norco, San Bernardino, and surrounding areas.

Story repost courtesy of original author-

Just being Mean or a Bully? | Corona, CA

In talking to a Elementary School Principal the other day, the question was asked, “Do you have an Anti-Bullying program?”  Their response may be interesting to you.  “No.  We teach the children the difference between a Bully and someone that is just mean.”

Is there a difference between a bully and just a mean child?

We all can probably think of someone who has been mean to us.  We can probably even think of someone that we’ve been mean to.  But that doesn’t make them or us a bully.  Learning to deal with mean, rude, or unkind people is really a part of life that we all have to learn.

Bullying, on other hand is a different matter entirely and it needs to be addressed immediately.  Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

  • An intentional act to hurt or harm someone
  • An imbalance of power
  • Repetition

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Why do people bully?  People who bully do so for many reasons.  They often find someone who will not stand up to them and go after those who have low self-esteem, this is where the “imbalance of power” happens.  They keep poking fun at and hurting the victim without remorse.  Some of the most popular reasons for bullying include:

  • Appearance
  • Race
  • Religion/Beliefs
  • Nationality
  • Sexual orientation
  • Jealousy

No matter what the reason is, bullying can have long-term side effects and problems for the victim.  Bullying is more than just being mean; it’s hurtful and cruel.  Individuals that  are bullied and those whom bully others may have serious, lasting problems.  People who have been victimized by bullying carry with them for the rest of their lives the scars of the past.  The brutal words and actions create an impact on the heart.  Many victims don’t reach out for help, but there are signs to look for.  Does your child…

  • avoid activities that he used to love doing
  • make up excuses to avoid going to school
  • miss a lot of days from school
  • seem more irritable and moody
  • appear to be more stressed out and anxious
  • not sleep enough or sleep too much
  • eat more or less than usual
  • prefer to be alone and avoid friends and family

If you notice any of these warning signs and suspect your child is being bullied, you need to take the necessary steps to get help.

“Some people won’t be happy until they’ve pushed you to the ground. What you have to do is have the courage to stand your ground and not give them the time of day. Hold on to your power and never give it away.”
― Donna Schoenrock (Donna Lynn Hope) Author of “Willow”

For more information about how you can help call us at 866-459-7225 or visit our website at

S.A.C.K. also proudly serves Lake Elsinore, Riverside, Norco, San Bernardino, and surrounding areas.

What can be done to help someone who is being bullied? | Norco, CA

Support a child who is being bullied:

  • You can listen to the child and let him or her know you are available to talk or even help. A child who is being bullied may struggle talking about it. Consider letting the child know there are other people who can talk with him or her about bullying.
  • Give the child advice about what he or she can do. You might want to include role-playing and acting out a bullying incident as you guide the child so that the child knows what to do in a real situation.
  • Follow up with the child to show that you are committed to helping put a stop to the bullying.

Address the bullying behavior:

  • Make sure a child whom you suspect or know is bullying knows what the problem behavior is and why it is not acceptable.
  • Show kids that bullying is taken seriously. If you know someone is being a bully to someone else, tell the bully that bullying will not be tolerated! It is important, however, to demonstrate good behavior when speaking with a bully so that you serve as a role model of good interpersonal behavior.

If you feel that you have taken all possible steps to prevent bullying and nothing has worked, or someone is in immediate danger, there are other ways for you to help.

The problem

What you can do

A crime has occurred or someone is at immediate risk of harm. Call 911.
Someone is feeling hopeless, helpless, or thinking of suicide. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in a national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals.
Someone is acting differently, such as sad or anxious, having trouble completing tasks, or not taking care of themselves. Find a local counselor or other mental health services.
A child is being bullied in school. Contact the:

  • Teacher
  • School counselor
  • School coach
  • School principal
  • School superintendent
  • Board of Education
Child is being bullied after school on the playground or in the neighborhood
  • Neighborhood watch
  • Playground security
  • Team coach
  • Local precinct/community police
The child’s school is not addressing the bullying Contact the:

  • School superintendent
  • Local Board of Education
  • State Department of Education


“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.”
― Michael J. Fox, Actor



For more information about how you can help call us at 866-459-7225 or visit our website at

S.A.C.K. also proudly serves Corona, Riverside, Norco, San Bernardino, and surrounding areas.