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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What should I do if I'm being bullied?

    I am 16 years old and in highschool and I am frequently being bullied by the other guys. First it was just joking around/verbal abuse, but now they have threatened me. Who can I talk to? I'm scared to tell my parents because they will worry. And if I tell the teachers there isn't much they can do about it since the bullying occurs outside of the classroom. I am afriad that telling people will make the situation worse and will bring more trouble..
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  • 1


    Grant McKell


    Grant McKell is a counselling psychologist working in Sydney's inner west with over ten years' experience. He founded HeadsUp Psychology in August, 2011. Having worked in … View Profile

    Does your school have a school counsellor? If so, I'd highly recommend going to see them. Another option would be to contact Kids Helpline (

    I'm wondering if you have a group of friends of some sort, even one or two friends. In my experience, teachers pay a lot more attention to what is happening in a bullying situation when they are notified by a concerned friend of the bullying target. Can you get a friend to notify your deputy principal on your behalf? Perhaps you could make a reciprocal agreement to do the same for them.

    I think something needs to be done, however. If you haven't told anyone and the situation is getting worse, then not telling isn't working and telling won't make any worse than it will be. In fact, there is a greater chance that things could improve.

    Bullying is becoming a major legal issue in the education system and I think you might be surprised how responsive a school can be once they know what is going on, especially if it is getting worse.

    Discuss these ideas with your school counsellor and give us an update on how you go.

  • 1


    Grace Gonzalez

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    Counselling Training and QualificationsI am a counsellor and psychotherapist with over 15 years experience working with non-profit organisations and community health services in Melbourne.I have … View Profile

    THank you for your question and for bringing up the subject of bullying by sharing your experience.

    Grant McKell has made good points about the importance of sharing your experiences with someone such as a counsellor at school or at least a teacher you trust.  You can also try to contact a youth worker at your local council to help you make a decision and support you while you make a decision.  if you want more information about your local council and how youth workers can help let us know.

    You say that teachers might not be able to help as the bullying happens outside school. If those who bully you are students of the school you attend it is relevant and important that the school is informed.  The school has a responsibilityfor your safety.

    I  would, most of all,  hope that you do tell your parents. Although you feel telling your parents will worry them they are the ones who can protect you the most.

    1    Tell a school counsellor
    2     Tell your parents
    3    Consider discussing the process of dealing with bullying with a youth worker/counsellor     in your community (council or community health centre)

    Please contact us back if you are confused about any of the information or anything at all
    Good luck


  • 4


    My name is Catherine and I completed my counselling studies at the Australian Catholic University. As a Counsellor, I have worked in Australia, England, Rwanda, … View Profile

    Hi there, 

    I'm really sorry to hear about what you're experiencing at school from these other students when you're outside of the classroom. It sounds like it would be very difficult at times in knowing what to do. I think it's really positive that you are able to ask for help via Healthshare. 

    Although you may feel scared to inform you parents, it could be really helpful for them to know, so that they are then able to help support you and look out for you. I think it could be beneficial for you to see either your School Counsellor or a Counsellor outside of school. This would offer you a safe place to discuss how the bullying is impacting you, how to address the situation, and learning how to manage the bullying, for example, how to respond to the bullying etc. 

    If you feel that seeing a Counsellor in person might be too overwhelming, then perhaps you can contact the Kids' Helpline like Grant mentioned, or even Headspace. Headspace offers both telephone counselling and online counselling among others.

    It is really important for you to feel safe at school, so, I encourage you to seek the support you need, as you don't have to struggle alone, nor do you have to go through this challenging time alone. Help is out there, if you allow others to assist you. 

    Good luck,
    Catherine :-) 

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