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Self-Care for Bystanders

An important part of taking care of others is remembering to take care of yourself. Exposure to online harassment, even if you are not the the one it’s directed at, can cause secondary trauma. Take breaks when you need to and be gentle with yourself. We’ve got your back, too.

You are Part of Something Amazing

Supporting others on HeartMob is an amazing thing to do. Not only are you helping victims of online harassment, you’re also part of a growing movement to make the internet a better, safer, and more enjoyable place for everyone. Studies show that online allies are crucial in fighting harassment, and bystander intervention has proven to be a best practice for dealing with harassment in all its forms.

But reading through abusive and violent content can take its toll. It’s important to look after your own mental health and wellbeing, for your own sake, and so that you can continue to help others.

Why do you Feel Anxious?

It may seem strange to feel anxious or upset when reading other people’s accounts of harassment. It’s not happening to you, so why are you so bothered by it?

While helping others is an invaluable and rewarding thing to do, engaging with people who have experienced trauma can sometimes feel overwhelming and distressing. Luckily, there are ways to prevent and manage these negative impacts so that you can continue your amazing work supporting others as a HeartMobber.

  • Learn more about how Heartmob works here.
The first step is to recognize what you’re feeling, and know that you’re not in this alone.


Focusing too much on others without practicing self-care can lead to exhaustion, anxiety, and stress. This is known as burnout. Burnout can show up in different ways for different people.