Treatments for Bullying in Children

How does Boston Children’s Hospital help children and families who are dealing with bullying?

Treatment related depression and anxiety

Knowing that your child is struggling with her thoughts and feelings is an upsetting experience for any parent—but you can rest assured that at Boston Children’s Hospital , your child and your family are in good hands.

Our team of psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers can help you, your child and your family by:

  • tailoring therapy plans according to your child’s age, specific symptoms, family and school situation and overall medical history
  • using psychotherapy (such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), or a combination of medication and therapy, to help your child feel and function better

Boston Children’s Department of Psychiatry has a team of expert psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers ready to help your child cope with bullying and mental health issues related to bullying. We’ll work closely with her—and with you and your family—to:

  • devise a plan for stopping the abuse.
  • help your child rebuild her self-esteem.
  • teach her new, constructive thought patterns to help her succeed in the present and plan for the future.

In addition, our Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships provides a range of services to children in seven Boston-area schools and four community health centers, tackling bullying directly in the schools.



Psychotherapy is designed to help your child identify, express and manage her feelings about being bullied. It will also teach her important new skills for overcoming those feelings, rebuilding her self-esteem and feeling optimistic and confident about the future.

Your child may receive individual therapy, or may participate in group sessions with other kids working through similar issues. We also offer family counseling, which allows parents, siblings and other family members to take part in a child's therapy sessions and learn new strategies as a team.


If your child’s depression, anxiety or stress do not adequately respond to psychotherapy, your clinician may recommend adding an anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication to his treatment plan. These medications can help your child feel more relaxed and comfortable while he is working on learning and practicing coping skills in therapy.

Here at Boston Children’s, we never prescribe mental health medication as a standalone treatment. Instead, we always consider medication as part of a two-pronged approach, with psychotherapy as a necessary component. Our Psychopharmacology Clinic can help determine whether medication might be a useful addition to your child's therapy.

Help at schools and in the community

Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships (BCHNP) is the community mental health program in the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital. Established in 2002, BCHNP places Boston Children’s Hospital clinicians in 7 Boston-area schools and 4 community health centers to provide a comprehensive array of mental health services to children and adolescents where they live and learn. 

Consistent with Community Systems of Care principles, Boston Children’s Hospital embraces community settings for mental health service delivery. By offering high-quality services in environments that are convenient and familiar to children and their families, CHNP plays an important role in improving the health and well-being of children in Boston’s most underserved communities.

Preventing depression and suicide

The Swensrud Prevention Initiative includes the prevention and promotion components of the CHNP School-Based Program. The Initiative also fosters the development, implementation and evaluation of innovative prevention strategies having the potential for far-reaching public health impact, such as raising awareness of depression and suicide among teens through the Break Free From Depression program. 

This program is a specially designed depression awareness program for use in schools. It applies an innovative and engaging format and proven cognitive behavioral techniques to teach young people how to effectively cope with difficult life circumstances, how to identify signs of depression in themselves and their peers and how to seek help.

A groundbreaking collaborative: BACPAC (Bullying And Cyberbullying Prevention & Advocacy Collaborative) is a multidisciplinary anti-bullying collaborative based at Boston Children’s Hospital—the first hospital-based program of its kind anywhere in the U.S. BACPAC:

  • serves as a source of expert information on bullying for schools, families and other healthcare providers
  • operates a clinic that performs comprehensive evaluations of children with neurodevelopmental disorders (like ADHD, Tourette’s disorder, intellectual disabilities, Asperger’s syndrome and autism) who are affected by bullying, either as victims or perpetrators
  • provides customized guidance and recommendations to meet the needs of the individual child
  • works in partnership with each child’s family, school and primary care provider to resolve the issue

If your child is seen by BACPAC:

  • The doctor will typically start out by asking:
    • So, what grade are you in?
    • What school do you go to?
    • Do you like school?
    • Do you have friends?
    • Is making friends easy or hard?
    • Is anyone being mean to you?
    • Are you having trouble with any bullies?
  • If your child is being bullied, the doctor will get as much detail as possible, including:
    • What does it entail?
    • Where is it happening?
    • How often is it occurring?
  • Next, the doctor will talk to you and your child about whether anyone at the school has been alerted to the problem, and if so, what their response has been.
  • If the bullying is still going on, the doctor will offer to write a letter to the school to let them know about the situation. Emphasis will be placed on spelling out the problem and offering specific recommendations for fixing it.
  • Once the school has been informed about the bullying, BACPAC will give your family (as well as your primary care practitioner) detailed recommendations for next steps.
  • If applicable, BACPAC can also refer your child to specialists who can help her manage:
    • Depression, anxiety, suicidal thinking or other mental health issues
    • LGBT-specific concerns
    • Sleep problems
Treating disorders that increase the risk of being involved in bullying (either as a bully or a victim) Learn more about Boston Children’s approach to treating: