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Bullied into Depression

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All you'll ever be is a fading memory of a bully.
Make another joke, while they hang another rope so lonely.
— "Bully", Shinedown

Not all characters who suffer schoolyard bullying brush it off. A character who is being bullied will often be depicted as a sullen, depressed figure due to all the bullying. This is especially common with All of the Other Reindeer scenarios.

This trope has become increasingly common since the 1990s and has begun displacing the old archetypes of bully victims being unfazed by their abuse. With the rise of understanding on bullying and how it affects people, it's more common for bully victims to be depicted as troubled and depressed rather than just "nerdy weaklings" like they used to be.


This is Truth in Television. While not all bully victims suffer the same way, bullying often has negative effects on the psyche of the one being bullied. This can lead to poor self-esteem, various mental health issues, Self-Harm, and suicidal behavior.

An aversion of School Bullying Is Harmless. Related to Bully Brutality and Gayngst-Induced Suicide. Subtrope of Dark and Troubled Past and Cynicism Catalyst. Often overlaps with Shrinking Violet and Apologises a Lot.



Anime & Manga

  • The protagonist Aya of Mahou Shoujo Site is a depressed middle-schooler who suffers Domestic Abuse from her brother and Bully Brutality at school by a Girl Posse. She starts the series wanting to commit suicide but being too scared to. Her depression leads her to becoming a Magical Girl.
  • Wandering Son: A bunch of bullies was why Yuki became a hikikomori as a middle schooler. She spent several of her preteen and teen years locked away in her bedroom after some bullies really got to her. She eventually recovered from her troubles.
  • Life:
    • The protagonist Ayumu began cutting herself after her former best friend said she hated her. Her self-harm and suicidal ideation only got worse as Manami Anzai and her Girl Posse kept on bullying her.
    • One girl apart of said posse was literally bullied into suicide after discovering Manami's true nature in order to keep it a secret. She jumped off a school balcony in order to escape punishment from Manami, but it was a Bungled Suicide.

Comic Books

  • The 2014 Holiday special of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls revolves around Sunset being accused of being an online bully called Anon-a-Miss. Even her friends turn on her. This near leads to Sunset having a breakdown before everything is cleared up.

Fan Works

  • In Last Light, Sunset Shimmer becomes the pariah of her high school after she's accused of being an online bully called Anon-a-Miss. She ends up stop going to school due to all the ostracism. Feeling like she has nowhere to go, Sunset ends up Driven to Suicide.
  • The plot of the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls fic Some Mistakes Are Forever is about reformed bully Sunset Shimmer learning that a classmate, Solomon Tary, killed himself after she spread a bunch of reputation-ruining rumors about him.
  • Pokemon Light AU: Bede insulted Gloria in a way that hurt her already poor self-esteem. Over the next several months she became even more of a Violent Glaswegian, alienating all of her loved ones except for her mum and Hop. Gloria was eventually Driven to Suicide because she worried she was abusive like her father.
  • Hermione in Mudsnake is a miserable, anxious child due a combination of Abusive Parents and years of school bullying.


  • In The Casual Vacancy, Sukhvinder is relentlessly bullied by Fats, online and off. This causes her to be depressed and cut herself.
  • The protagonist of Fat Kid Rules the World is an obese teenage boy who's miserable and depressed because of his weight, which is caused by stress eating started after his mother's death and only got worse because of the bullying.

Live-Action TV

  • A Season 2 flashback showing his home life indicates this as the reason Eli joined Cobra Kai. Aisha's reason is a combination of Cyber Bullying and You Are Fat. Both are behind Miguel as the top three students of the Order Reborn dojo.


  • The anti-bullying song "Bully" by Shinedown calls out bullies who make their victims miserable and suicidal.

Video Games

  • In Persona 5, Futaba's downward spiral began when her peers realized how much smarter she was than them thanks to her Photographic Memory. They bullied her and accused her of cheating on all her tests until she started handing in unmarked tests in hopes of getting them to stop. Her decline into depression only accelerated when her mother died and her uncle began abusing her. By the time she began staying with Sojiro, she was a complete Hikikomori who never left the house and blamed herself for her mother's death.
  • Early in The Missing JJ Mac Field And The Island Of Memories, it's made clear that J.J. is dead and experiencing some sort of afterlife. The game eventually reveals she is currently in a Dying Dream after attempting suicide after being outed as a transgender girl at college.
  • Yandere Simulator: The player can dispose of Kokona Haruka by spreading malicious rumors, which will cause a mob to bully her and ultimately, cause her to commit suicide.

Western Animation


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