Mental Health Awareness Week : Body Image
This week (13th to 19th May 2019) is Mental Health Awareness Week. Throughout the week we will focus on different aspects of mental health and as this year’s theme is body image, there is no better place to start.
The first port of call is to highlight where to go if you or anyone you know needs help. This link gives you several options; https://bit.ly/1maSe5l
So, the headline statistic.
A 2019 survey by the Mental Health foundation (MHF) found that 19% of adults felt disgusted because of their body image.
Let’s take a moment to think about that. Almost one fifth of the adult population felt disgust because of their body image. That’s an awfully strong term to use when thinking about one’s own body image. So, where is this incredibly strong reaction coming from?
According to the MHF the way we think about our body image can be affected by relationships, unhealthy so-called ideals and longer term, larger societal factors. This might be attributed to the prevailing cultural norms or the pressures from social media and advertising.
The other statistics aren’t surprising either;
- Over 33% of adults felt anxious or depressed because of body image concerns.
- 21% of adults said advertising images caused them to worry about their body image
The MHF are clear, body image concerns are normal to a certain degree but research shows a correlational relationship between higher body dissatisfaction scores and increased levels of psychological distress and harmful behavioural patterns, eating disorders, self-harm and isolation.
Everyone has a right to feel comfortable and confident in their own bodies and the all-pervasive power of mainstream and social media can be brought to heel in order to prevent unnecessary and artificial harm.
The MHF have a number of policy recommendations surrounding effective regulation and education, in particular for frontline health staff. They also host a powerful selection of personal stories;
To find out more about the MHF report; visit https://bit.ly/2LDpa8U
Gareth Snaith, Contract Performance Manager, 3SC