Working Together to Tackle Bullying and Improve Mental Health in Birmingham

In 2019, we launched a partnership with Birmingham Children’s and Women’s Hospital and HSBC UK to take action on childhood bullying, a preventable root cause of mental ill health. The mental health morbidity arising from bullying is substantial; population studies suggest that 25–40% of mental health problems including depression, anxiety and self-harm in young adults may be attributable to childhood bullying. Throughout 2020, we continued this partnership, adapting the work to include supporting teachers concerned about the trauma children will have experienced during lockdown, and are planning to re-launch the intervention in schools in the new academic year. In 2021, we were fortunate to begin to roll-out the KiVa whole-school anti-bullying intervention in Birmingham, and, by the beginning of the new academic year, we had delivered the intervention to half the schools and are now currently delivering the intervention to the control group of schools. Despite the challenges schools are under, from the impact of the pandemic and with families struggling with the costs of living, we have recruited 29 schools (5300 Key Stage 2 children) to the study and are working closely with Birmingham Education Partnership to deliver these interventions. The initial baseline and trial data have been collected and we have recruited a research fellow jointly with Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust to look at rates of bullying in the city, the impact of the intervention on bullying rates, and how these vary with particular demographics and deprivation levels, as well as studying the impact of the pandemic on teacher wellbeing and burnout.  Some early findings, comparing the baseline trial data with our pilot data, show that children’s prosocial behaviour declined in 2021 with the pandemic, with increasing burnout and exhaustion in teachers during the 2020-21 period. The next year will be an exciting one for the project: we will be able to see the findings of the study and whether KiVa has reduced rates of bullying, we will complete the second year of intervention, and begin our work on dissemination and influencing policy regionally and nationally. 

Watch how KiVa work in partnership to stop bullying in schools

Renewing Phenomenological Psychopathology

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