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Workplace Bullying

When you leave school, you think you have perhaps said farewell to the bully on the school playground. Sadly, there are a significant number of adults that experience bullying in the workplace. The latest numbers from Worksafe Australia show that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men reported an effect on their mental health due to bullying in the workplace during 2018.

Experiencing bullying can cause great distress and harm mentally and physically as well as have an impact on relationships we have with our friends and family.

What is workplace bullying?

At its worst, workplace bullying is a persistent, unreasonable attack on an individual which aims to lower their self-confidence, isolate them from their colleagues or attempt to damage their personal reputation by setting unreasonable tasks/deadlines. It can include verbal, nonverbal, psychological, physical abuse and humiliation of an individual.

Bullying behaviours can include:

· Having false accusations regarding errors that were not made or having work scrutinised excessively, or consistent, unfounded allegations of producing unsatisfactory work

· Non-verbal intimidation

· Being “singled out” or isolated repeatedly from other members of staff and/or meetings

· Falsifying the evaluation process (using untruths in order to sabotage and discredit an individual’s career)

· Setting individuals up for failure using arbitrary rules, impossible standards, incomplete information and/or making impossible demands

· Assigning undesirable or excessive work as a means of punishment

· Dismissing a person’s thoughts and feelings repeatedly

What can you do to support your mental health if you are being bullied?

One of the most important things you can do is to talk to someone. Often when a person is bullied, it will leave them feeling isolated and alone. This is often the intention of a bully, so finding someone you can confide in will help you digest what is happening and receive some support. This could be a friend, a family member or a counsellor.

Try to keep active as much as you can. Bullying can do immense damage to a person motivation and confidence. It may be a struggle sometimes to go outside, but going for a quiet walk or run, will help your mind focus and process the situation.

Eat well! Depending on how we each handle stressful situations, we can either eat more or stop eating altogether. Having a good diet consisting of protein, carbs and veggies (with the occasional chocolate bar) will help keep your body strong and healthy.

Finally, do something you are good at and love. That might be painting, craft, cooking or a playing a favourite videogame or musical instrument. Doing something you are good at will help encourage and remind you that you have great skills and abilities regardless of what others are saying or trying to make you believe.

Workplace bullying is destructive and harmful. These suggestions can aid in coping however be patient with yourself on the long road to healing. It will take time to recover.

If you have experienced bullying in the workplace, it’s OK to take advantage of help to get through it, and recover on the other side. If you would like some support, then please contact Kate. Remember, you have the right to a safe and supportive working environment, not just because it is the law, but because you have value, worth and deserve it.


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