Let’s talk body image!



Recently, Mental Health Foundation chief executive Mark Rowland said:

“Our survey indicates that millions of adults in the UK are struggling with concerns about their body image. For some people this is potentially very severe.”

When talking about body image, many have tried to determine the factor that influences the negative perception that people have towards their own bodies and over the past few years this has been blamed on ‘unattainable size 0s’, models in magazines, celebrities and many have blamed social media.

Although, we secretly love blaming the media for bombarding us with “perfect people”, it is no secret that the majority of us are not 100% satisfied with the way we look and the perception of our own bodies has been linked to mental health.

This week, Mental Health Foundation are championing body image and the distress related to a personal poor body image by looking at how associated mental health problems can be prevented.

To address this, we have looked at the factors that influence the way people perceive themselves. With plastic surgery becoming more common and more accessible, many seek cosmetic procedures as a form of instant gratification, instead of addressing the struggles that they may face with body image.

The desire for larger bottoms among women, for example, has doubled in the last five years and despite the risks that have been highlighted in many articles, this still remains one of the most popular surgeries in the market. With women believing the benefits of having the surgery outweighs the risks involved.

Spring, for example, can often be a time that promotes diet fads. People trying to lose weight “quickly” ahead of the summer holiday will chase a fad diet and the misinformation that goes with it.  Slimming teas, magic pills, 30 days diet plans can be dangerous and can lead to eating disorders and other mental health problems.

Men and women of any age can be affected by eating disorders which can involve eating too much or too little or perhaps becoming obsessed with weight and body shape.

Overcoming a negative self-perception and poor body image can seem like a daunting and impossible task. Being overly critical of oneself over long periods of time can lead to deeply ingrained thoughts and behaviours that cannot be broken easily. As you begin a journey towards self-acceptance, it is crucial to realise that rising above destructive thoughts and behaviours requires a fundamental change in how you think about yourself.

But don’t be too hard on yourself, a recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that 30% of all adults have felt so stressed by body image and appearance that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. That’s almost 1 in every 3 people. So you’re not alone.

If you are concerned about any of the topics in this article please contact your GP. Alternatively, you can access your local IAPT service through a self-referral  or visit Mental Health Foundation’s website to access self-help and additional helpline support.

Keep an eye on the Mental Health Foundation’s website for further information on the Bebodykind campaign