This article was taken from: https://www.standard.co.uk/futurelondon/health/over-a-third-of-adults-have-felt-anxious-or-depressed-about-their-body-image-survey-finds-a4141201.html
By Edwina Langley
The Body Image report was produced by the Mental Health Foundation for Mental Health Awareness Week
Over a third of adults have felt anxious or depressed about their body image, with one in eight having experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings about it, a report released today by the Mental Health Foundation has found.
Centring on ‘Body Image’, the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the report collated the online YouGov surveys of 4,505 adults in the UK, with the results indicating that dissatisfaction with body image is prevalent.
A quarter said they had felt ‘shame’ over their body image in the last year, with one in five (19%) claiming it had made them feel ‘disgusted’.
“Our survey indicates that millions of adults in the UK are struggling with concerns about their body image,” said Mental Health Foundation Chief Executive Mark Rowland. “For some people this is potentially very severe, with large numbers saying they have self-harmed or had suicidal thoughts and feelings.”
He continued: “Women, and particularly young women, are showing the highest rates of distress. Significant numbers have felt feelings of disgust and shame or changed their behaviour to avoid situations that make them reflect negatively about their bodies.
“But body image issues can affect anyone and at any stage in life. Our research suggests that a worrying proportion of men have felt anxious or depressed about their bodies.”
He went on to say respondents cited social media as a factor in their dissatisfaction, and that most felt the Government should be doing more.
“Our survey underscores how commercial, social media and advertising pressures on body image are contributing to mental health problems for millions of people,” Rowland says.
“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.”
In an attempt to kick-start this process, the report lays out ways in which action can be taken. It calls for social media companies to actively promote ‘body kindness’ and suggested the Advertising Standards Authority consider ‘pre-vetting high-reach broadcast adverts from high-risk industries’, such as those connected to weight loss products and cosmetic surgery, to ensure all ‘codes’ are adequately followed.
It also calls for individuals to make concerted efforts themselves to be mindful about how they view their bodies, and speak about them to others (especially children), and to seek help if necessary.