Effect of body image on mental health to be examined

Suzie Karsnia

Suzie Karsnia

To mark the start of Mental Health Awareness week, we take a look a closer look at why negative body image is affecting more people from a younger age.

The body image initiative is part of a national campaign, organised annually by the Mental Health Foundation - and according to the charity's research, one in five of the 4,505 adults surveyed said they felt shame over their body image. But men are also affected by body image.

We are also urging the SNP Government to invest in better mental health care as new figures show that three in 10 young people are being forced to wait too long for treatment. One in five of all United Kingdom adults and 46% of 18-24-year-olds said images on social media had caused them to worry about their body image.

Ms Haughey said: "From our recently published research, we know that body image is a concern for children and young people".

The charity commissioned the survey of 4,505 United Kingdom adults to mark the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week, which has a theme this year of body image.

YouGov questioned 1,012 Scots aged 18 and above and found that just over a third (34 per cent) had felt anxious about their body image.

The Mental Health Foundation survey also found about one in five adults felt "disgusted" or "shame" due to their body image in the a year ago.

Almost six in 10 adults think the UK Government should do more to protect the public from the presentation or use of unhealthy body images in advertising and social media.

Mr Rowland said: "Our survey underscores how commercial, social media and advertising pressures on body image are contributing to mental health problems for millions of people".

More than half said that celebrities and "influencers" sharing more realistic images of themselves would encourage people to post content that more accurately reflects what they look like in real life, it found. YMCA England and Wales chief executive Denise Hatton said social media presents "a multitude of dangers" for young people. For some people this is potentially very severe, with large numbers of people saying they have self-harmed or had suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Acas has produced a framework for positive mental health at work, which outlines the roles that employers, managers and their staff can play to help make it happen.

Westminster is already consulting on reforms and the charity wants a new code of practice to ensure that social media companies don't harm their users' body image.

A new group will advise the Scottish Government on how to promote and achieve a healthy body image to help tackle Scotland's mental health crisis.

She said: "The impact social media can have on a person is extreme".

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