When people think of bullying, picture of children being taunted, teased or physically abused by their peers likely come to mind.  But as well as these common manifestations of the problem, bullying can also be seen as a public health issue.

Bullying carries both physical and psychological health effects and is linked to a wide range of health issues.

Those bullied and their bullies alike complain of headaches , stomach aches, have difficulty sleeping and fall victim to psychological symptoms, most notably depression and “very significant anxiety”. Victims of bullying are at a significant risk of hurting themselves.

Bullying can affect children in the home, adolescents in relationships and adults, with workplace bullies creating workplace “Warzones”.   Bullying, including cyber-bullying and sexual harassment, is a multifaceted form of maltreatment which occurs across different social settings.

Bullying alters the stress response system in the brain.  These changes can impair cognitive functions and the person’s ability to self-regulate their emotions.

Bullies become bullies from a very early age.  If bullying behaviour is not picked up and resolved at school age, these school bullies may grow up to be adult bullies.

To alleviate the harm of bullying and its cost to our nation’s happiness and wellbeing, the NZ Outdoors Party will create a nationwide, all level strategy to reduce bullying in New Zealand: