Mental Health

Workplace Bullying and Mental Health

Workplace bullying has become a kind of silent epidemic in North America. It’s become such a problem that organizations like Work Safe BC in Canada, have published resources to help victims and employers deal with the problem.

What exactly is workplace bullying?

Bullying can manifest in a variety of forms. Usually, bullying involves acts or verbal comments that could mentally hurt, humiliate, or isolate someone in the workplace. Negative physical contact can also be considered bullying in certain situations. When there’s a pattern of behavior that is intended to intimate, degrade, offend, or humiliate someone or a group of people, it is bullying.

Examples of bullying can include, but is not limited to:

  • Spreading malicious rumors or gossip
  • Excluding someone socially
  • Intimidating someone
  • Deliberately undermining or impeding someone’s work
  • Withholding important information or giving incorrect information on purpose
  • Constantly criticising someone
  • Belittling someone’s opinions
  • Undeserved punishment
  • Making offensive jokes on purpose in person or through e-mail

How does workplace bullying affect someone?

Bullying’s impact on the victim’s mental health and sense of well-being can range from mild to severe. It can destabilize the target’s identity, ego, strength, and wear down resilience.

Targets of workplace bullying can experience the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Increased sense of vulnerability
  • Insomnia
  • Low morale and productivity
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Various psychosomatic symptoms (i.e. stomach pains, headaches)


To minimize bullying in the workplace, there are a few tips for both employees and employers to keep in mind.

  • Encourage everyone to act in a respectful and professional manner
  • Have a reporting policy in place
  • Educate all staff about bullying
  • Nip potential bullying situations in the bud
  • Treat all complaints seriously
  • Train managers and supervisors on how to deal with bullying and complaints
  • DO NOT ignore potential problems or delay resolution

For more information, visit Work Safe BC’s site on workplace bullying here.

Kaitlyn L.

Kaitlyn L.

Kaitlyn is a blogger and professional writer. While specializing in health and relationship topics, she also writes articles on a variety of topics, including culture, food, technology, and politics. Her written work can be found on pilcrowmagazine.com and newbiechef.wordpress.com.