Effect of body image on mental health to be examined

Body image

Concerns around body image will be examined to mark Mental Health Awareness Week

13th May 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A new group will examine how body image impacts on young people’s mental wellbeing.

The Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on Healthy Body Image - which will include members from youth, third sector and equalities groups - will identify steps to improve support for young people and advice for relevant professionals.

The announcement was made to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, which is organised by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), and this year focuses on the theme of body image.

Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey will visit Girlguiding Scotland on Tuesday (14 May) to find out how body image issues affect them, and will also announce the remit of the new advisory group.

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

“Monday marks the start of Mental Health Awareness week, and this year’s theme is body image. This will be the focus of my visit to Girlguiding Scotland, where I’ll outline the aims of our new advisory group.

“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. This includes £90,000 of funding to produce advice on the healthy use of social media and screen time, and a review of evidence on the effects of screen use on sleep and the implications of this for mental health.”

New data about the impact of body image on young people’s mental health will be published by MHF later this week.

Julie Cameron, head of programmes at MHF Scotland, said: “The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is body image and our research published this week highlights the huge impact that negative body image can have on the mental health of both adults and young people.

“We particularly welcome the commitment to addressing the impact of social media on body image. Our report and survey uncovered evidence that both social media and online advertising are contributing to mental health problems for thousands of people across Scotland. 

“Now is the time to address these pressures head-on and we look forward to playing our full part in the new advisory group.”

Denise Spence, chief executive of Girlguiding Scotland said: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming the minister to Girlguiding Scotland HQ on Tuesday.

“This is a great chance for our members to share how negative body image is impacting the mental health of girls and young women in Scotland, and how the new advisory group will work to help improve support for young people.”