Bullying is something that many young people have unfortunately experienced in their life. Bullying usually occurs throughout their time in school, and it can have extreme effects on their confidence and their mental health in the future.
Throughout all our projects, we’re incredibly aware that bullying can happen to any of our young people, and we aim to guide them into knowing how to deal with these sometimes unavoidable situations.
Creating change within organisations like schools is why Anti-Bullying week was created. It is an annual UK event which aims to raise awareness of bullying and to highlight ways of preventing and responding to it.
For our contribution to Anti-Bullying Week, we wanted to showcase how drastic the effects of bullying can be and what we do at Transitions UK to support our 4 groups of vulnerable young people through their chances of being bullied.
To understand the severity of bullying, we discovered an upsetting fact from Perpetual Fostering, who analysed Government Statistics for 2021, that 1 in every 4 young people in the UK have been victims of bullying in the past 12 months with 77% of those saying that it negatively impacted their mental health. A more heart-breaking statistic is that one third of those that were bullied explained that they had suicidal thoughts.
We’re aware that our young people’s mental health and emotional needs are increasing at an alarming rate with many needing support and specialised help which is not always available. Our Affirm Project understands the sudden increase in these needs of our young people which is why we provide a wrap-around 1-1 mentoring and befriending service for those who need support with these needs.
Young people in our Achieve Project, who have learning difficulties and disabilities, are twice as likely to be bullied as other young people. Through our guidance from our volunteer mentors, they support these young people into being able to resist and learn to deal with this type of bullying.
Our Attain Project supports those who are leaving care, so these individuals are vulnerable to feelings of neglect and isolation, meaning that being bullied can only harm them more. From the same study we discovered that 72% of people who reported getting bullied experienced a moderate to extreme negative impact on their confidence. Confidence is something that our 1-1 mentoring can support the improvement of this. We help young people understand their potential and guide them into better futures where they can reach their goals.
In the Aspire Project, we support those who are at risk of offending and if these young people are faced with bullying, they’re therefore more likely to fit the model of criminal exploitation. A common effect of bullying is low self-esteem or lack of belonging which can very easily lead to criminal activity. Providing our support to these individuals even if the young person has a history of showing aggression and behaviour that challenges, we want to guide them and give them the time open up and feel safe, to be a part of something positive and empower them to a positive future.
The extremities of bullying can have lifelong impacts especially when starting from such a young age – when we are all most vulnerable. So Anti-Bullying Week and using this year to share the theme – ‘One Kind Word’, align amazingly with our blog post last week for World Kindness Day. We had our team share a kind statement, poem, or haiku that showcase what Kindness means to them. Give it a read to find out all the wonderful things that people shared.
We need to care and respect everyone and celebrate our differences – showing kindness to all – especially the most vulnerable. That changes worlds!