How to Deal with Bullying at School: Counseling for Bullying for Californian Students
Understanding the Issue: School Bullying Statistics in California
Hundreds of thousands of children daily dread going to school due to bullying from their peers. Bullying is an aggressive form of behavior that is repeated and intentional. It creates an imbalance of power, and victims find it difficult to defend themselves. It persists for extended periods (weeks, months, or years) and can harm mental health, which can extend into adulthood. Online counseling for bullying can help children identify, share, and process painful feelings, which, if ignored, can impact their overall well-being. Online counselors can also teach coping skills for moving forward, improve self-esteem, and learn assertive communication.
The most common types of bullying are:
- Physical: Bullying with physical contact, such as punching, hitting, tripping, or spitting.
- Emotional: This involves insulting, name-calling, teasing, threats, or inappropriate sexual or racial comments.
- Social: This involves spreading rumors, excluding individuals, encouraging others to bully, and making comments that cause embarrassment.
- Cyberbullying: Online harassment via the internet, social media sites, mobile devices, or email.
California is one of the states with the highest rates of bullying. According to the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), about 15% of students in grades 9-12 nationwide reported bullying in school. In comparison, USC’s Center for Health Journalism analyzed six years of anonymous, self-reported data from students and found that 33.5% of students surveyed reported being bullied. Bullying rates vary widely depending on school districts, from some as low as 11% to others as high as 59%.
These concerning numbers, besides the numerous negative impacts bullying has on children’s mental health and overall well-being, emphasize the importance of counseling services. While schools, parents, and educators need to intervene in bullying, counseling for bullying is also necessary to help children process their feelings and reverse the impact of bullying. Luckily, California has implemented anti-bullying laws which require school districts to adopt a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying and procedures for preventing acts of bullying and cyberbullying.
Contact BeWellLine by calling our help center at 866-349-0854 to learn more about using virtual mental health services.
California School Bullying Policy: A Protective Framework
California has passed numerous anti-bullying laws and regulations to address both in-school bullying and cyberbullying. California school districts are required to adopt guidelines prohibiting bullying, harassment, or intimidation with the following key policies and procedures:
- Statements that prohibit intimidation, harassment, and bullying
- Procedures on how to report bullying
- Procedures for investigating bullying
- Publications of antidiscrimination, anti-harassment, anti-intimidation, and anti-bullying laws
- Resources for high-risk groups, such as LGBTQ+ students
- Protections for those who report bullying or file complaints
- Identification of a district officer responsible for ensuring district compliance with requirements under the law
California anti-bullying laws have also required the Department of Education to develop an online training module to help school staff, administrators, parents, students, and community members learn how to identify bullying and implement strategies to address it. Schools are also encouraged to refer students to counseling intervention for bullying.
These laws aim to give students the right to go to a welcoming school and report bullying or harassment at school. With these new laws, students and their parents/caregivers have found more support from their schools when addressing bullying than in the past. Children also feel that the harassment they receive is not right and not their fault.
Anti-Bullying Programs in California Schools: A Focus on Counseling
California schools are now responsible for creating safe environments for all students. They are required to prevent bullying and appropriately respond when it does happen. The California Department of Education also offers various resources and programs for parents, administrators, and students about bullying, including counseling interventions for victims of bullying in California. Some of these resources include:
- Bullying Module from the California Department of Education: This module helps teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community members to recognize bullying, have knowledge of its impacts, how to address it, and further resources.
- StopBullying.gov Bullying Prevention Training Course: This free training module is a research-based guide to help anyone lead bullying prevention efforts in their community.
- Teachers’ Essential Guide to Cyberbullying Prevention: Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, has provided this free guide to help promote safe technology and media for children. It helps educate about cyberbullying and what teachers can do about it.
Part of the law is to encourage schools to refer students with bullying to a school counselor, school psychologist, social worker, school nurse, or other school support service for counseling. Schools are also encouraged to create group counseling activities for bullying in California. Counselors can provide support programs for students and their families for issues affecting students’ academic and social development.
The Impact of Bullying: Self-Esteem and Mental Health
Bullying can impact everyone, not only those who are bullied. It can affect the child who bullies and those who witness bullying. Bullying has been linked to many adverse outcomes, including impacting mental health, suicide rates, and substance abuse. Students in the whole-school community can experience effects on their health, well-being, and learning. Witnessing bullying can make those students feel unhappy, lonely, and frightened.
Bullied children experience long-term mental health effects, even extending into adulthood. Bullying often leads to experiencing depression, low self-esteem, shyness, loneliness, physical illness, and threatened or attempted self-harm, including suicide. Often, kids will miss school to avoid bullying, leading to dropping grades, risk of dropping out, and isolation.
Long-term impacts of bullying can include experiencing a range of mental health issues into adulthood, including suicide ideation. Adults bullied as kids are also likelier to earn less money, not be employed, gain qualifications, be obese, and experience unstable relationships.
Bullying can increase the chances of developing mental health disorders like anxiety or depression, which may require professional help such as therapy or medication. Due to the far-reaching effects of bullying, counseling services should be considered. Counseling intervention for bullying can help children manage related mental health issues before they worsen, which may lead to suicidal ideation.
How to Handle School Bullying: Tactics and Strategies
Being the target of any kind of bullying feels really bad. It can leave both students and their parents/caregivers frustrated and not knowing what to do, whether they are the victim of bullying or the bully. Reporting bullying is encouraged; however, sometimes, it is best to try to handle it yourself. Here are several tactics and strategies:
- Be confident: Bullies often pick on those who they think are weaker than they are, so acting in control and standing up to them can make them stop.
- Avoid the bully and use the buddy system: While it can feel unfair to go out of your way to avoid a bully, often, they will not engage in bullying if you are around more people. Avoid going to the same bathroom if a bully is around or going to your locker alone. Keep friends and allies nearby while doing the same for them.
- Act brave, walk away, and ignore the bully: When a bully approaches, simply walk away or ignore them. Ways to ignore hurtful remarks include acting uninterested or texting on your phone. This shows you do not care, which will probably cause the bully to get bored with you.
- Don’t get angry: It is natural to get upset when being harassed; however, that reaction is often what a bully thrives on. Although difficult, practice not getting angry or crying. “Cool down” strategies such as counting to 10, writing down what is upsetting you, or taking deep breaths can help you not react.
- Talk to someone: Talk to a teacher, your parents, a friend, or a support group. Talking about it can help you feel a little less alone, and they can offer you advice or suggestions. Teachers, principals, school staff, and parents can also help stop bullying.
Contact BeWellLine by calling our help center at 866-349-0854 to learn more about using virtual mental health services.
Finding Support: Counseling for Bullying in California
Counseling intervention for bullying can help students have a safe space to express their feelings, have support, gain coping skills and tools to combat bullying, and heal from the effects of bullying. The benefits of counseling for bullying also help in overcoming or preventing mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Students who talk to counselors can improve their self-esteem and know that what is happening to them is not right or their fault. School counselors, outside therapists, and peer support helplines are just a few options available for counseling interventions for victims of bullying in California.
BeWellLine offers free online counseling for students in California struggling with bullying issues. Our services are available through a confidential, anonymous online chat or through the phone at 866-349-6597. Peer support counselors are available 24/7, and users will be connected to someone within minutes.
Online Counseling: A Flexible, Accessible Solution
Online counseling has become increasingly popular because of its many benefits in comparison to in-person counseling. One of the biggest advantages of online counseling is its convenience and accessibility. Services are available 24 hours a day, which allows you to get help immediately and from anywhere. There is no need to travel to a counselor’s office, which eliminates barriers for those with unreliable transportation or who live in rural areas. This is also a great option for students who feel uncomfortable with face-to-face sessions. Services are also anonymous, which can make it easier for many students to open up about issues they are facing.
Emotional Support at Your Fingertips: Our Chat and Phone Line Services
BeWellLine offers free counseling services for California students struggling with bullying issues and mental health issues resulting from bullying. Services are available 24/7 through an online chat or over the phone. You will be connected to a peer support counselor in minutes who can be a listening ear and offer advice, coping techniques, and resources related to bullying. Peer support counselors at BeWellLine are specially trained to support youth and teens with a wide range of issues, including bullying and mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Students will receive six sessions with our counselors at no extra charge and can be referred to higher levels of care when needed. Our services are confidential and anonymous. To get help now, you can visit our site at www.BeWellLine.com or by calling 866-349-6597.
Additional Resources for Bullying Help and Support
Other places you can find help and support for bullying in California include:
- California Youth Crisis Line: 24-hour crisis line through text, phone, or online chat. This crisis line is free and confidential. Counselors are available to help with a wide range of issues, including bullying, mental health issues, and suicide prevention. If you are having thoughts about suicide, the California Youth Crisis Line is available to listen to and support you. More information is available at https://calyouth.org/cycl/ or by calling 800-843-5200.
- AskTeenLine: An emotional support line with highly trained teen listeners who can provide support, resources, and advice when struggling with bullying or mental health issues. Sometimes it can be easier for children to talk to someone closer to their age than an adult. Teen Line is available by phone, text, or email by calling 800-852-8336 or visiting teenline.org.
BeWellLine is available 24/7 for emotional support, anti-bullying resources, and referrals for higher levels of care when needed. Students can benefit from counseling techniques for bullying to improve self-esteem, learn coping skills, and overcome feelings of anxiety and depression. Please call our helpline today at 866-349-0854 to get a counselor immediately.
FAQs About Counseling for Bullying at School
What is school bullying?
School bullying is an aggressive form of behavior that is repeated and intentional and persists for a long period of time (weeks, months, or years). Bullying can be physical, emotional, social, or online, also known as cyberbullying. It can have numerous negative impacts on children’s mental health and overall well-being. Children who are bullied are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
How common is bullying in California schools?
California has one of the highest rates of bullying in the United States. According to USC’s Center for Health Journalism’s analysis of anonymous, self-reported data from students in California, they found that 33.5% of students reported being bullied, compared to the CDC’s data that found 15% of students in the U.S. reported being bullied.
What should I do if my child is being bullied at school?
Parents should be aware that California has passed anti-bullying laws protecting students and requiring schools to take certain measures against bullying. The California Department of Education also has several learning modules available for free to help students, parents/caregivers, teachers, and administrators aimed at teaching how to spot bullying and how to fix the problem. Parents/caregivers can teach kids how to handle bullying through these modules. If the bullying doesn’t stop, it is important to talk to the school about it and have them take the appropriate measures.
What are the long-term effects of bullying on a child’s mental health?
Children who experience bullying are more likely to develop mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. The effects of bullying can extend into adulthood as well. They are at risk for continued mental health issues, low self-esteem, loneliness, and physical illness. Bullying can also affect academic performance as kids might avoid going to school in an attempt to avoid bullying.
Are there specific anti-bullying programs available in California schools?
California Department of Education has provided several resources for California schools to implement anti-bullying attempts. Schools are encouraged to refer students to counseling services, including group counseling activities for bullying in California. Some schools also offer programs that educate students to help others who are being bullied, such as reporting bullying to counselors or reaching out to students who are victims of bullying.
How can counseling help students who have experienced bullying?
Counseling can help students have a safe space to express themselves and talk about their feelings about bullying. Counselors can provide students with coping skills and tools to combat bullying, have support, and heal from the effects of bullying, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Is online counseling an effective option for addressing bullying-related issues?
Online counseling can be just as effective as in-person counseling and can actually be more comfortable for some students who feel uncomfortable with face-to-face counseling. Choosing online counseling can also be more convenient and accessible. It is less expensive than in-person counseling, can be accessed from anywhere, and is available during times that are more convenient. Online counseling can also eliminate many barriers to treatment, such as lack of transportation, access to counseling options in rural areas, or mobility issues.
Are there any free counseling services or helplines available in California for bullying victims?
California offers several free counseling services, such as the California Youth Crisis Line at 800-843-5200, which can offer emotional support and crisis intervention services. Students can also call AskTeenLine at 800-852-8336, which connects callers with highly trained teen listeners. BeWellLine is also available to all California residents for free counseling services. They provide six free counseling services with peer support counselors specially trained in youth and teen issues, including bullying and mental health issues. Services are available 24/7 through our online chat or by calling the helpline at 866-349-0854.