Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 13th to 19th May 2019.
This years theme is Body Image, how we think and feel about our bodies, and this can affect any one of us, either sex, at any age, throughout our lives, affecting how we feel about ourselves and the effect that this has on our mental health and wellbeing.
Research has shown that higher body dissatisfaction is associated with poorer quality of life, psychological distress and the very real risk of unhealthy eating behaviours and eating disorders, conversely body satisfaction and appreciation has been linked to better overall wellbeing and fewer unhealthy dieting behaviours.
Some Statistics taken from a survey conducted by the mental health foundation
20% of UK adults have felt shame because of their body image in the last year.
Among teenagers, 37% felt upset, and 31% felt ashamed in relation to their body image.
Just over one third of adults said they had ever felt anxious (34%) or depressed (35%) because of their body image.
13% of adults experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of concerns about their body image.
21% of adults said images used in advertising had caused them to worry about their body image.
22% of adults and 40% of teenagers said images on social media caused them to worry about their body image.
So what can be done to build and promote positive body image and support good mental health and wellbeing in relation to our bodies ?
Key recommendations as highlighted by the Mental Health Foundation are:
Effective regulation of how body image is portrayed.
Commitment from social media companies to play a key role in promoting body kindness.
Taking a public health approach to body image by training frontline health and education staff.
Individually being more aware of how we can take care of ourselves and others in relation to body image.