More than half of bullied children become depressed as adults, survey shows

 

55 per cent of children who have been bullied develop depression – with more than one in three becoming suicidal or self-harming as a result, according to a Europe-wide poll released today.

Yet despite the scale of suffering, one in three adults view bullying as a routine rite of passage, and 16 per cent describe it as "character-building".

The shocking statistics have provoked calls for urgent action, with more than 100,000 people joining a campaign by the BeatBullying charity calling on the European Commission to introduce new laws to protect children from bullying and cyberbullying.

This comes after an inquest in May heard how a British teenager walked into the sea to drown after suffering cyberbullying over Facebook.

Callum Moody-Chapman, 17, from Cumbria, had been sent online threats by a former friend who was going out with his ex-girlfriend. The 17-year-old boy threatened to beat him, set fire to his home and encourage friends "to stamp on your head". A verdict of suicide into the youngster’s death last December was recorded by the coroner, who cited the abusive messages as “by far the most significant aspect of this case”.

Attitudes need to change if such tragedies are to be prevented, according to campaigners.

Emma-Jane Cross, chief executive of BeatBullying, said: “Far too many European citizens still see bullying as ‘part of growing up’ and don’t take it seriously. This is pushing young people to the brink with some even resorting to harming themselves in order to cope.”

She added: “How many more children have to tragically lose their lives before these outdated perceptions change? Today more than 100,000 children, families, schools and charitable organisations are sending the European Commission a clear message that enough is enough. We urge them to listen.” 

And Sarah Crown, editor of Mumsnet, one of the organisations backing the protest, commented: "These figures demonstrate once again why bullying ought not to be treated as 'part and parcel' of growing up. It's a serious matter that can result in severe consequences for the victim.”

Little Mix, Amanda Holden, JLS singer Aston Merrygold, and reality TV star Jamie Laing from Made in Chelsea are among the names supporting the campaign. Leigh Anne of Little Mix said: “Myself and the girls have all experienced being bullied at some point in our life, when we see on Twitter that some of our fans are going through it now we find it so upsetting, and that's the reason we feel so passionate about this campaign.”

And the effects on victims can be long-lasting. For childhood bullying can continue to damage mental and physical health for decades afterwards, causing higher rates of depression, ill health and unemployment in adult life, according to a study by researchers from Kings College London published earlier this year.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

    Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

    Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

    Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

    £15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

    Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us