Bullying is repeated, unwanted, and aggressive behavior among children and adolescents that involves a power imbalance. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may incur serious, lasting mental health consequences. Find out more about bullying and what anti-bullying resources are available locally.
*Note: If you have an immediate teen mental health crisis, scroll down to “Teen Crisis Resources” section for help lines, resources and support.
A child’s interactions with his or her peers can have a huge effect on his or her mental health. We are social animals, and when we feel targeted or threatened it can induce a state of depression or hyper-vigilance; youth are not exempt from this effect. In fact, bullying hugely affects the mental health of children and teens around the globe, going so far as to induce mental health crises in children and teens. We seek to reduce the negative effects of bullying so that we may raise happier and healthier children.
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance (physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity). The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting physical, social and mental health problems.
There are four types of bullying:
- Verbal – Saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes teasing, name calling, inappropriate sexual comments, taunting and threatening to cause harm.
- Social – hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes leaving someone out on purpose, telling children not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors about someone, embarrassing someone in public.
- Physical – hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes hitting/kicking/punching, spitting, tripping/pushing, taking or breaking one’s things, making mean or rude hand gestures
- Cyber – bullying that takes place using electronic technology (such as such as cell phones, computers, and tablets) and communications (such as social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites). Examples of cyber bullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
Local Anti-Bullying Resources
Violence Prevention Program
1400 Parkmoor Avenue, Suite 120 B
San Jose, CA 95126
Phone: (408) 793-2700
Fax: (408) 793-2731
Santa Clara County’s Violence Prevention Program seeks to prevent violence, especially among our youth. In addition to Love is Respect, a campaign promoting healthy relationships (and teaching teens to identify the signs of unhealthy ones), the We All Play a Role campaign is teaching our County’s youth that everyone has a role to play in reducing violence within the community.
YMCA Anti-Bullying Resources
80 Saratoga Ave. Santa Clara, CA 95051
The YMCA of Silicon Valley has established Project Cornerstone, which is committed to helping all children and teens in Silicon Valley feed valued, respected and known. This “Help Stop Bullying” page contains anti-bullying ideas and resources.
Online Anti-Bullying Resources
StopBullying.gov: StopBullying.gov offers separate sections for kids, teens and young adults to help them understand how to identify and stop bullying. It also helps parents understand what to do if their child is being bullied or might be a bully and offers resources for getting help.
Steps to Take if Your Child is Being Bullied at School: This PDF document by the PACER Center outlines the steps parents should take if they find out that their child is being bullied at school.
Help Your Child Recognize the Signs of Bullying: Another PACER PDF document that guides parents on how to talk to their children about bullying and teaches them how to recognize signs of bullying at their school.
The School Bully Can Take A Toll On Your Child’s Mental Health: Santa Clara County’s Network of Care article on how bullying can affect your child’s mental health, as well as advice on what you can do as a parent or guardian to support your child.
Teen Crisis Resources
Santa Clara County SUICIDE and CRISIS Center*: 1-855-278-4204 (Toll Free 24×7 Hotline) – English, Spanish
National Suicide Prevention Line* (Toll Free 24/7) 1-800-273-TALK or 800-SUICIDE
EMQ Child/Adolescent Mobile Crisis Program 408-379-9085 1-877-412-7474
(After hours/weekend emergencies) 24-hour, mobile crisis intervention service for Santa Clara Country children and adolescents under age 18 in acute psychological crisis. It provides multilingual (Spanish, Vietnamese, Hindi, Farsi, French, Telegu, Tamil, Gujarati, Marathi, American Sign Language, Hebrew, and German), community-based intervention, evaluation, and links children and families with other community agencies for long term care and assistance.
Contact Cares Teen Crisis Line 408-850-6140
Bill Willson Center’s health, relationship, crisis, and information referral line for teens and young adults. This is a dispatch service that connects the caller directly to needed services, including emergency treatment and transitional housing.
Teen Hotline* 650-579-0353
National Youth Crisis Hotline 800-448-3000
(*Indicates 24 hour line)