Monica Lewinsky's New Emotional PSA Shines Light on Our Biggest Bully

Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 9:00 AM EDT

The powerful Bullying Prevention Month initiative comes as new research reveals 74% of adults agree they are their own worst critic, with the majority admitting negative thoughts get in the way of succeeding in life.

NEW YORK, Oct. 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Monica Lewinsky has launched an emotional new PSA encouraging us to stand up to the biggest bully we rarely confront: Ourselves.

Still from Stand Up to Yourself campaign
Still from Stand Up to Yourself campaign(PRNewswire)
"This PSA aims to reshape how we think about negative self-talk by recognizing that the biggest bully we may know is sadly the one in our head." - Monica Lewinsky

Social activist, producer (15 Minutes of Shame; American Crime Story: Impeachment), public speaker and Vanity Fair contributing editor, Ms. Lewinsky is inviting people to stand up to themselves this October, Bullying Prevention Month, as new data reveals 74% of adults agree they are their own worst critic, with the majority admitting negative thoughts get in the way of succeeding in life.

The PSA asked people to share their innermost insecurities and negative feelings about themselves in conversation with loved ones. These heartbreaking, unscripted moments capture common themes across the diverse group.

Stand Up to Yourself helps viewers to internalize that self-bullying is still bullying; standing up to our biggest bully often means standing up to ourselves. Watch the PSA here

"For Bullying Prevention Month 2023, I wanted to explore a creative concept that focused on the mental health aspects of bullying – especially coming out of the pandemic. Arguably our most intimate relationship is the one we have with ourselves," shares Ms. Lewinsky. "An exercise I participated in over a decade ago – writing a list of negative things I said to myself and then having to read them aloud was a wake-up call to how cruel I was being – talking to myself in a manner I would never to talk to someone I love. This PSA aims to reshape how we think about negative self-talk by recognizing that the biggest bully we may know is sadly the one in our head. While we might never be able to fully eradicate the inner bully, we can quiet them more often and be kinder to ourselves."

Monica Lewinsky partnered with the multi-award-winning creative agency Mischief @ No Fixed Address and the decorated communications firm Dini von Mueffling Communications. As in campaigns past, the PSA is created in support of 10 of the world's leading anti-bullying and mental health nonprofits.

Data gathered as part of the campaign found that the majority of adults agree they are their own worst bully. A total of 58% of adults and 59% of parents of teenagers believe that these negative thoughts get in the way of them/their children enjoying life. And 55% of adults went as far as to say their insecurities get in the way of succeeding in life.  A total of 45% of adults and parents of teenagers blame social media to some degree for negative and insecure thoughts.

A recent Surgeon General's Advisory spells out the current, dire landscape of youth mental health. Up to 95% of those ages 13-17 use social media and more than a third report using it "almost constantly." A study of 14-year-olds found that increased social media use correlated with: online harassment, poor body image, low self-esteem and higher instances of depressive symptoms (with a larger correlation for girls over boys).

A new report from the CDC further spells out the mental health burden facing young women; per the research 57% of teen girls reported feeling "persistently sad or hopeless" over the previous year – compared to almost a third of boys (29%). Per The Trevor Project, 41% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered suicide in the past year.

Kevin Mulroy, ECD and Partner at Mischief @ No Fixed Address, said: "Nobody wants to think of themselves as a bully. But the reality is we all are, every time we look in the mirror. Nobody speaks more cruelly to us than ourselves. It's hard to imagine speaking as harshly to someone else as we routinely do to ourselves. We all have these thoughts rattling around in our heads that are just poison for the soul. So, this campaign sprung from a simple question: why is it ok to say these awful things to ourselves, if we'd never in a million years say them to someone else?"

"The mental health crisis has reached a fever pitch, especially for young people who are contending with record levels of isolation," says Dini von Mueffling, founder and CEO of Dini von Mueffling Communications. "It's a privilege to work with Monica and this talented team to call out one of the root causes of bullying, the cruel things we often say to ourselves. If you wouldn't say it to someone else, don't say it to yourself."

This year's campaign gratefully supports the following orgs: The Childhood Resilience Foundation, The Diana Award, Project Rockit, Ditch The Label, Sandy Hook Promise, Anti-Bullying Alliance, Heartmob, the Hetrick-Martin InstituteChildren Mending Hearts and The Tyler Clementi Foundation

The survey on negative self-talk was fielded with a nationally representative sample of 509 18–60-year-old adults as well as 500 parents of teens.

Learn more about the campaign, and find tools for navigating negative self-talk:


Monica Lewinsky is a producer, social activist, a global public speaker, and a contributing editor to Vanity Fair. She advocates for a safer social media environment and addresses such topics as digital resilience + reputation, privacy, cultivating compassion, overcoming shame, and equality. Monica executive produced the documentary 15 Minutes of Shame for HBO and was a producer on American Crime Story: Impeachment; she has started her own production company, Alt Ending Productions. Her TED Talk "The Price of Shame" has been viewed nearly 22 million times. She has also spoken at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit and gave the Ogilvy + Inspire Lecture at Cannes Lions. Monica is a founding board member of The Childhood Resilience Foundation, sits on the advisory board of Project Rockit, and is an Ambassador for The Diana Award's Anti-Bullying Program, as well as supporting numerous other organizations in the space.

ABOUT Mischief

Mischief is an advertising agency born to create work that makes a stir, because the riskiest thing a brand can do is be ignorable.


Dini von Mueffling Communications (DVMC) is an award-winning communications agency based in New York. With a fierce commitment to social change, DVMC devotes a third of its practice to social justice issues including gun violence prevention, elevating women leaders, combatting online harassment and bullying, alleviating medical debt, and more. The agency has garnered 32 Cannes Lions awards, multiple Webbys and two Emmys. DVMC also works with notable clients in the fields of technology, art, design, finance, books, wellness and high-profile individuals. More at

Press contact: Daniel Lempert
Dini von Mueffling Communications

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SOURCE Monica Lewinsky

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