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Mental Health Awareness Week 13-19 May 2019: Body image – how we feel and think about our bodies

Mental Health Awareness Week 13-19 May 2019: Body image – how we feel and think about our bodies
15 May 2019

A local NHS Trust is encouraging people to have compassion and acceptance for their bodies to back Mental Health Awareness Week (May 13-19).

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation charity, the theme for this year is ‘body image’ – how people think and feel about their bodies.

Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust will have several of their services out and about across the region promoting the awareness week and encouraging people to talk about their relationship with body image.

Last year a survey by the charity 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.

Body image issues can affect anyone at any age and directly impact our mental health with a lack of much-needed research and understanding around this topic.

Emma Train-Sullivan, Programme Manager for the Trust’s young people’s mental health service SMASH said: “Poor body image is most often associated with girls, however we now understand better that this also affects boys significantly too.

“Having a poor sense of body image can affect a young person in many ways from the relationship they make, their mood, their ability to engage, their academic achievements right through to their overall quality of life.

“Young People with prolonged negative body image are more likely to suffer from feelings of depression, isolation, and obsessions with weight loss and or develop an eating disorder.”

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, the Mental Health Foundation will be:

  • Publishing results of a UK-wide survey on body image and mental health;
  • Looking at body image issues across a lifetime – including how it affects children and young people, adults and people in later life;
  • Highlighting how people can experience body image issues differently, including people of different ages, genders, ethnicities and sexualities;
  • Using research to continue campaigning for positive change and publish practical tools to help improve the nation’s relationship with their bodies.

Discussing the impact of media on young people and body image Emma said: “Reality TV shows and social media can often play a very negative role in influencing young people around the perceived ‘perfect body’.

“The problem is a ‘perfect’ body doesn’t really exist, at least not in the way it is defined in the media. This often leaves young people aiming to achieve something that isn’t real. People should really try to focus on embracing a healthy balanced lifestyle around nutrition, exercise and good emotional and mental fitness. This approach will improve confidence and self-esteem, emotional regulation and self-perception.”

Emma’s top tips for keeping a healthy mind:

  • Healthy balanced food intake
  • Healthy exercise routine
  • Don’t let your mind bully your body
  • Focus on building good confidence and self esteem
  • Build a Healthy body healthy mind
  • Limit been exposed to negative social media , TV shows and internet influences
  • Surround yourself with positive influences and relationships
  • And remember ‘it’s good to talk’

For more information about Mental Health Awareness Week visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

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