Body image and how we feel about our bodies has been the focus of this week’s mental health awareness. Last year the Mental Health Foundation found that 30% of all adults have felt so stressed by body image and appearance that they are overwhelmed and unable to cope. That’s one in every three people.

Body image issues can affect all of us at any age and impact on our mental health and there is a lack of research and understanding around this. We are intimately aware of the particular quirks of our own body; its strengths, wonders and limitations. And yet for too many of us, our bodies are sources of shame and distress. From an early age we are bombarded with images that define what an ‘ideal body’ looks like. The Mental Health Foundation wants to ignite a national conversation about how we can be kinder to our bodies as a guard against the individual, family and cultural influences that can lead to a worrying and sometime debilitating sense of dissatisfaction with our bodies. What we do know is that self-acceptance and self-esteem are crucial to good mental health. Comparing ourselves to others, either online or real life, can undermine these things giving rise to feelings of inadequacy.

The good news is that we can tackle body image through what children learn in school, by the way we talk about our bodies and policy change at a government level.

More info body image can be found at www.mentalhealth.org.uk

Looking for training?

The Health Promotion Team run a number of training courses including:

  • Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid
  • Mentally Healthy Workplace training for managers
  • Eat well, be active, feel good
  • Building self-esteem for young people

Courses start from September 2019 at venues across Fife. Visit www.healthyfife.net for more information.