Third of Scottish adults anxious over body image, report finds

14 May, 2019, 17:12 | Author: Sherman Richardson
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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.

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. Research by the Mental Health Foundation found 13% of adults had experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of concerns about their body image.

Body image issues have been shown to affect adult United Kingdom women more than men.

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.

The research also shows that just one in 10 workers would feel comfortable speaking about psychosis, self-harm, eating disorders, postnatal depression or schizophrenia.

That is compared to 4% of men. We are striving for a society where people do not suffer because of concerns about body image, and where they do not feel pressured to live up to a false sense of perfection.

The charity wants the United Kingdom government to take action, by regulating social media and giving more powers to the Advertising Standards Authority. She said: "This will build on our package of measures to improve the mental health of young people, and directly target the impact of social media and body image on mental wellbeing".

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"That is why today we are calling on the UK Government to tackle the promotion of unhealthy or idealised body image images as a specific part of its policy in this area".

He added: "For some people this is potentially very severe, with large numbers saying they have self-harmed or had suicidal thoughts and feelings".

The foundation calls on the Government and relevant industries to take action, including regulation of social media and more powers for the Advertising Standards Authority.

The theme chosen this year is 'The Habit of Mental Health, ' and each day has been constructed around three key aspects of maintaining good mental health: (1) physical health, (2) mindfulness practice and mental-health workshops, (3) social events and crafting. While there have been some positive initiatives, social media companies have frequently been unwilling to take the necessary steps to protect their users from harmful content.

This is a cause for concern and it's clear that active steps need to be taken to support the wellbeing of all staff.

If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, contact the Samaritans free on 116 123.

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