Therapist and Social Worker Discuss Negative Impacts of Bullying

RALEIGH COUNTY, W.Va (WOAY) – School is not easy and it’s even harder when students have to deal with a bully. According to experts, this can negatively affect a student’s life for the long haul and unfortunately it is  more prevalent now because of all the ways to do it. 

“I’ve seen a lot of the social media aspect because like I said, that tends to be where they gravitate to now,” social worker Angela Gwinn said. “It’s kind of the coward’s way out in a sense. It’s easier to type something than to say it to someone’s face, but I still have seen the physical assaults. You know, kids being pushed around, fights being videotaped and put out on whether it be YouTube, Facebook or however. It’s just also the verbal. You get those comments that are made and kids can’t even walk down a hallway.” 

Bullying can have long lasting effects on students like anxiety and depression making it harder to focus in school and form relationships. However, in situations where the bullying is persistent there are coping tips for both the one being bullied and the bully as he or she gets to the root of the behavior. 

For those that are being bullied, it’s a process of deconstructing the messages they have received from the bully,” Amy Bush, a therapist at Life Strategies, said. “They have to remind themselves that what they have been subjected to from bullies isn’t true, that that’s not who they are. For those that are the bully, again, it’s a process of looking at yourself and saying, ‘What is it about me that’s causing this behavior?’ And then making a change.” 

And for people like Gwinn, who have been noticing this issue since her time in school and throughout her almost 14-year career as a social worker, she says this issue has only gotten worse. 

“I think about that 10 years ago, it was totally different,” Gwinn said. “Five years ago, it was totally different. Nothing is the same. It is definitely increased in popularity as well as severity. 

Both reccommended that if you do witness bullying to not just be a bystander. Reach out to those being bullied or if it’s a more immediate situation, get help from teachers or administrators

Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.