Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson doc: Online bullying and what to do about it

Hannah Adams and Jesy Nelson

“There were comments of people telling me to kill myself, saying that I should starve myself.”

Hannah Adams, 17, says there was “no escape” from online bullying when she was in high school.

She appears in Little Mix star Jesy Nelson’s new documentary Odd One Out about online trolling – discussing ways to deal with bullying.

The abuse made Hannah “feel self-hatred” and like everything was “gloomy” – but she’s found ways to cope.

Hannah’s been speaking to Radio 1 Newsbeat about what people can do when, like her and Jesy, they find themselves faced with bullies online.

‘Don’t keep it to yourself’

“That is the worst thing I ever did. Telling people is so important. Don’t keep it to yourself.”

She says confiding in her mum “really helped” and enabled her to get the support she needed – including counselling.

Group support also helped Hannah.

It made her feel “less alone and isolated” – and inspired her to set up the group that Jesy was seen visiting in the documentary.

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Hannah Adams

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Hannah says it’s important to make people aware of coping strategies

“It makes you realise you’re not alone.

“That’s something I came to realise, with Jesy herself too – we’re in completely different worlds but everybody can go through something like that.”

She adds group therapy was “amazing” and “such a good way to express how you’re feeling”.

Stay safe online

Learning how to keep yourself safe online is “so important”, according to Hannah.

“Simple things like blocking and reporting comments, and realising what happens when you do report things.”

Hannah says that previously she “had no clue” what happened when she reported something.

“I thought it just went to a robot, but it’s so much more than that.”

Whilst there are automated systems, different platforms do also have people reviewing complaints.

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Media captionJesy Nelson: ‘I felt like the whole world hated me’

‘They’re looking for a reaction’

Hannah believes that part of the reason she was bullied was because she has ginger hair.

“At first I’d say, ‘Please stop, why are you treating me this way?’ and I’d be angry with them.

“But I realised that they’re looking for attention. The less I got involved in it, the less they would target me.”

Hannah says she’s learnt that not responding to abuse is the way to go.

But she adds that you should keep evidence of what’s happened.

“I took screenshots of what was going on,” she says.

“But I never really looked back on them because they really hurt me – it was for showing teachers and parents.”

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Hannah Adams

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Hannah is now the anti-bullying ambassador for a UK charity

‘Distract your mind’

Hannah used mindfulness apps – with “soothing” storytelling and breathing exercises – to help her mental health.

“It was a way to escape to what was going on, but in a much healthier way,” she says.

She adds that she was often “locked in a world of music” – listening mainly to Little Mix and One Direction.

“Find a way to distract your mind from what’s really going on.

“I’m not saying it goes away. But it doesn’t affect you as much because you’ve created this whole new life with positivity.”

Hannah says that being part of Jesy’s documentary was powerful.

“I feel so inspired and motivated to help other people even more now.”

Visit the BBC advice pages for how you can get help if you’re being bullied.

Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here.

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