Helping Children With Medical And Mental Health Conditions Get The Best Out Of School


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How to deal with bullying at school

The department for education defines bullying as:

"Behaviour by an individual or group, usually repeated over time that intentionally hurts another individual or group, either physically or emotionally."

A recent study (1) shows that adolescents with a disability or chronic illness are more likely to be victims of bullying.

Bullying can lead to anxiety, depression, self harm and even suicide. 

Bullying of any form is unacceptable and should never be tolerated.

How schools can help

  • Always take reports of bullying seriously
  • Take decisive action to deal with instances of bullying
  • Create a positive, open culture for good mental health and emotional well-being, to tackle stigma about mental health
  • Respond quickly and effectively otherwise children and young people may develop other coping strategies such as self-isolation or self-harm This can cause significant disruption to their ability to engage with school, learning and their wider relationships
  • Be proactive in noticing changes in young people’s behaviour and approach them to offer care, time and support.
  • Poor behaviour can be an expression of difficulties or distress. Look at possible causes and not only the behaviour.
  • Listen to children and young people carefully and try to understand what is happening to them and how they might feel.
  • Create spaces for children and young people to talk about bullying and how it affects their wellbeing.
  • Support the emotional needs of children and young people who are bullied and who bully others - simply dealing with the bullying behaviour is not enough!

Useful links

Anti-Bullying Alliance

Bully Free - A participatory Arts Project

Dealing with Bullying at School - GOV.UK

Childline - Advice on Bullying

Bullying and mental health: guidance for teachers and other professionals

(1) Sentenac M, et al. Victims of bullying among students with a disability or chronic illness and their peers: a cross-national study between Ireland and France. J Adol Health online, 2010.
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