October Is National Bullying Prevention Month: Here's How You Can Get Involved

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated May 16, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include suicide, substance use, or abuse which could be triggering to the reader.
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According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 22% of students aged 12-18 were bullied in 2016. Bullying can happen to people of all ages in a number of ways, including through physical attacks, verbal abuse, blackmail, and digital bullying. Bullying can cause significant harm physically and psychologically. According to the American Psychological Association, the effects of bullying can last long after adolescence. 

To draw attention to bullying, October has been designated National Bullying Prevention Month. Below, we’ll look at ways to stand up against bullying and promote prevention during National Bullying Prevention Month this October.

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Is bullying affecting you or someone you love?

What does bullying look like?

There are many different forms of bullying. One type of bullying many people think of is physical bullying, but bullying can be just as hurtful in its verbal, social, and cyber forms. Verbal bullying may include things like name-calling, shaming, and insulting, and social bullying often involves excluding individuals from groups and activities. 

Cyberbullying can include any bullying activity online. This can be done through the internet, mobile devices, and other forms of technology. Cyberbullying has become highly prevalent over the last decade.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six high school students reported having experienced cyberbullying over the past year. Cyberbullying can be even harder to face because it may be more difficult to get away from.

October has been designated as National Bullying Prevention Month to help bring this issue to light. The more the topic is brought into public conversation, the better chance we may have of putting a stop to it. The following are a few ways that you might get involved during National Bullying Prevention Month.

School schedules and activities for the month

#BlueUp

The first Monday in October is World Day of Bullying Prevention. On this day, everyone is encouraged to wear blue to get children, schools, and communities to "go blue" together. You can purchase a blue
“STOMP Out Bullying” shirt or wear a blue shirt of your own. This is just one way to support the effort and draw attention to the need to prevent bullying. If you have children, you might encourage their school to celebrate this day and raise awareness of bullying in your local community.

Make friends with someone you don't know

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During the week of October 8th, the focus is to get to know someone new. You might take some time to talk to someone that you have never met, whether in your neighborhood or at school or work. If you see someone that is new to your school or workplace, consider finding a way to approach them. Being the new person in any environment can be stressful, and sometimes just one person taking the time to talk to someone new can make a significant difference. 

During this week, you might also focus on spreading kindness both in person and online. Cyberbullying can be just as big of a problem as bullying in person. It can make a person feel even worse because they may feel they can't get away from it. If you see bullying online, such as in social media, you might find a way to support the person being bullied and make them feel welcome. 

STAND UP for others

The week of October 15th is aimed at standing up for others. Bullies tend to stop their activities when someone else steps in to stand up for the person they are bullying. If you don't feel safe stepping into the situation, it may be best to find another person who can help. You may find that others have also been concerned but have felt nervous about standing up. 

Week of Inclusion

The week of October 22nd is the Week of Inclusion. The focus during this week is to make sure that everyone is included and no one is left out. This may include small gestures, such as making sure that everyone has someone to sit by in the lunch room at work or school.

If you have ever sensed that you were on the outside of a group, then you probably know just how bad that can feel. National Bullying Prevention Month can serve as a good time for everyone to develop the habit of including everyone. 

Week of conversations among your peers

Perhaps one of the most effective ways to stop bullying is to educate people on the matter. During the last week of National Bullying Prevention Month, the focus is on creating conversations with peers. 

The STOMP Out Bullying website has Student Participation Toolkits that may help start these conversations. Teachers might help by setting aside time for students to have discussions in the classroom. They can encourage students to talk about their experiences with both bullying and cyberbullying in small groups. 

Recognize workplace bullying

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Is bullying affecting you or someone you love?

Most people know how to recognize bullying in schools, but bullying in the workplace can look different, and many people don't know what to look for. Learning to identify the behavior and label it for what it is may help you take steps to start addressing it. Some of the signs of bullying in the workplace may include:

  • Humiliation

  • Isolation

  • Verbal abuse

  • Rumors that cause reputation damage

  • Unfair negative evaluation of work 

  • Intimidation

  • Sabotage

  • Threats

If you have experienced workplace bullying, it may help to go to your human resources department with the facts. If you think there is a risk in reporting someone, such as a supervisor, you may benefit from documenting any bullying you experience until you feel you can safely discuss your experience. If you feel in danger in any way, you can contact local law enforcement. 

Other ways to help fight bullying

  • Participate In A Run: Many organizations put together walks or runs to raise money and awareness to put an end to bullying. You might look for a local event in your area to participate. If you can't find one that is near you, consider starting one in your own community to spread awareness about bullying.

  • Attend A Class Or Seminar: You might also look for training to attend about bullying. In recent years, more classes have been developed on the topics of bullying and cyberbullying. If you’re in a position of leadership at school or work, you might also schedule anti-bullying training to create a safe environment for all. 

  • Model Positive Behavior: Whether you are a student or an adult, you can help fight bullying by modeling positive behavior.

A lot of the messages that surround the anti-bullying efforts tend to focus on bullying that is due to differences such as sexual preference, race, ethnicity, and disabilities. However, it is not just individuals in minority communities that are bullied. People can be bullied for their religion, their choice to abstain from drugs or sex, their lack of athletic ability, their lack of education, and any other facet that makes them stand out. 

You’re not alone: Get help for bullying

If you have experienced bullying, know that you’re not alone. You may benefit from speaking to a counselor about what you’re experiencing. If you feel hesitant to discuss bullying in a traditional therapy setting, there are online therapy options that allow you to connect with a therapist from home or anywhere you feel safe and have an internet connection. According to the American Psychological Association, the literature on online therapy has shown it to be just as effective as in-office therapy for a variety of mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression, which may be common among people who have experienced bullying. 

With online therapy, you decide how you want to participate in therapy, whether by audio, video, live chat, or a combination of these modalities. You can also message your therapist 24/7 through in-app messaging, and they’ll respond as soon as they can. This may be especially helpful if you experience instances of bullying in between sessions and need support to decide how to handle it. 

Takeaway

National Bullying Month is recognized every year in October, and it serves as a way to increase awareness of bullying and reduce its effects in numerous settings. If you’re a survivor of bullying, you don’t have to face it alone. In addition to reaching out to support groups, you may benefit from speaking with a licensed counselor. 

With BetterHelp, you can be matched with a therapist who has experience helping people overcome bullying. A therapist may be able to guide you on ways to handle bullying while keeping yourself safe. Take the first step toward getting help with bullying and reach out to BetterHelp today.

Is bullying impacting your life?
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