School-based Initiatives: Bullying Prevention

What is Bullying?

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Bullying can affect everyone, those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health and substance use.

Bullying and Youth Substance Use

Bullying and youth substance use may seem like separate problems. Research shows that kids who use drugs or alcohol are at risk for other problem behaviors during their teen years. Bullying and substance use among kids have shared risk and protective factors. Prevention efforts can lessen these risk factors and strengthen protective factors in a child’s life. If a problem has already surfaced, learn to recognize the warning signs of bullying and being bullied, underage alcohol use, and drug use to intervene before the problem becomes worse.

What You Can Do

Get the KnowBullying app from SAMHSA that can prevent bullying.

Research shows that parents and caregivers who spend at least 15 minutes a day talking with their child can build the foundation for a strong relationship and help prevent bullying. The time you spend will help boost your children’s confidence and build effective strategies for facing bullying—whether children are being bullied, engaging in bullying, or witnessing bullying. Take a few minutes and “check in,” by asking about school, their friends, and any challenges they face. KnowBullying has simple conversation starters to begin a discussion with your child.

To Learn More

  • For more information go to Learn about bullying warning signs, how to help if  your child is being bullied, strategies that can help prevent bullying, Cyberbullying and what to do if you child is a bully.
  • Get KnowBullying, the free app from SAMHSA that can prevent bullying.

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