Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation takes places from 13th-19th May 2019. This year’s theme is Body Image and how we think and feel about our bodies.
How does body image affect mental health?
Body image concerns are not a mental health problem itself but it can be risk factor for mental health problems. Research has found that higher body dissatisfaction is associated with psychological, distress and the risk of unhealthy eating behaviours and disorders.
Body image statistics
In March 2019, the Mental Health Foundation with YouGov conducted a survey with 4,505 adults and 1,118 teenagers (ages 13-19) highlighted 20% of adults felt shame, just over one third felt down or of low mood and 19% felt disgust because of their body image in the last year and one in eight (13%) adults experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of concerns about their body image.
Amongst teenagers, 37% felt upset and 31% felt ashamed of their body image.
What can we do?
Everyone has a right to feel comfortable and confident in their own body and we need to do more to promote and build positive body image by supporting good mental health image.
- We should appreciate all that our bodies can do
- Keep a Top Ten list of things you like about yourself that aren’t related to what you look like
- If your body image is causing you stress, speak out about your feelings, remember it’s okay not to be okay
- Wear clothes that are comfortable and make you feel good about your body
- Do something nice for yourself
- When accessing people’s accounts that you’re following on Social Media be mindful of how you feel about your own body and appearance when you look at them.
- Find the best way that works for you to stay positive about yourself.
Where to get additional support and advice
Here is the link to the recognised counselling website / organisation for funded learners: