How Bullying At Work Can Affect Mental Health

Although a lot of focus on bullying has been on children, more adults are experiencing hostility at work. It is becoming a costly issue for employers. Studies record a relationship between mental health and workplace bullying.

Usually, bullying in the workplace involves multiple, intentional acts of aggression. Bullying has significant effects on the life of the victim as well as their mental health. 

It is no surprise, workplace bullying is a powerful stressor that can shatter people’s assumptions. Victims suffer from depression, anxiety, low self-confidence, occupational job stress, and burnout syndrome.

Studies show that bullying in the workplace contributes to mood disorders like anxiety and depression.

Panic attacks

Exposure to bullying in the workplace has devastating effects on employees compared to other work-related stress. The reaction to workplace bullying includes fear, shock, and even alterations of perception.

Panic attacks usually happen when the victim remembers previous bullying experience after seeing the perpetrator. Also, they can be triggered by anything that reminds them of the incident.

Clinical depression

Continuous bullying in the workplace can result in depression in victims. Depression can in return result in more troubling effects and outcomes. It is especially true if the victim accepts all the guilt, pain, and shame.

Bullying in the workplace results in feelings of isolation, apathy, and degradation. Sadly, depression can make the victim lose interest in things they previously enjoyed.

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Victims of prolonged bullying at the workplace can develop complex PTSD. Normally, PTSD occurs after traumatizing events like assault, harassment, and accidents among others.

Bullying is one of the triggers that can result in PTSD. As the victim experiences continuous trauma, they may develop symptoms of PTSD. Also, the psychological harm can be extreme.

When PTSD fully develops in the victim, they lose their feeling of individualism. It can result in low productivity because of self-doubt and self-isolation.


Another common mental health issue with victims of bullies in the workplace is Anxiety. The condition results in a lack of energy, sudden nervousness, social uneasiness, short attention span, and reduced focus.

Sustained bullying can even make the victim afraid of going to the office. Some victims may even have insomnia, the inability to sleep at night, which can result in more mental health issues.

Some victims even are unable to go out and become very anxious when they visit where the bullying happens. This makes it easy for them to contemplate suicide.

Feelings of shame and guilt

Bullying in the workplace results in feelings of shame and guilt in victims. The feelings normally arise when a bully publicly humiliates or makes fun of the victim.

As such, it can affect the perception of self and result in loss of confidence and angst in the victim. Shame and guilt arise when the victim acknowledges that they have allowed the bully to humiliate them.

Even when they realize this, victims usually debate with themselves on whether to stand up for themselves or let the situation be. Unfortunately, the dilemma for most victims of bullying in the workplace is not easy to resolve.