This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. The awareness campaign is organised by the Mental Health Foundation and it’s main focus is to help raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing every year.
This year, the campaign’s theme addresses body image and how it affects people across a lifetime, ranging from children and young people, to adults and people later in life.
In 2018, the Mental Health Foundation discovered that 30% of all adults have felt so stressed by body image and appearance that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. This translates to almost 1 in every 3 people.
There are many reasons as to why so many of us are concerned about our body image. About 6 in 10 women living in the UK believe that social media pressures people to look a certain way. And in addition to this, 7 in 10 women believe that current media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty.
Body Image not only affects women it affects men also and we should never ever forgot that. I believe that thousands of men are suffering in silence, and hiding there thoughts, feelings and body image disorders which means men are not getting the proper and professional support that they need and deserve. In my opinion and I strongly believe and encourage that more information, support and education when it comes to the debilitating and life changing effects these disorders have in men. Male body image is an neglected area of support and research, many men will make attempts to take there own life’s.
Body image in men is certainly different to women. We are aware that heterosexual men are mainly worried by their body weight, penis size, and height and to a lesser extent on muscularity, head hair, and body hair. Though some men feel they should be lean and muscular, have a large penis, be tall, have a full head of hair, and little body hair. These issues may be greater in homosexual men but even less research has been done in this area.
Symptoms of poor mental health.
If you are worried about your own mental health, or the wellbeing of someone you care about, it is important to look out for emotional warning signs.
Mental health problems can cause a wide variety of emotional symptoms, some of which include:
• Changes in mood
• Erratic thinking
• Chronic anxiety
• Lack of self-worth
• Impulsive actions
Mental health top tips:
Talk – It’s vital for your own mental wellbeing that you open up to your support network and talk about your thoughts and feelings.
Exercise – Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem, help you become more productive and improve your sleeping patterns.
Eat well – A balanced diet that is good for your physical wellbeing, is also good for your mental wellbeing. Your brain needs a mix of nutrients to stay healthy and function well.
Drink less – Stay within the recommended daily alcohol limits; 3 to 4 units a day for men and 2 to 3 units a day for women.
Be mindful of others – Caring for others is often integral in maintaining relationships with people you care about. It can also help to put our own problems into perspective.
If you feel as though you are concerned with your mental health, or if you have any other wellbeing concerns, please call the following numbers:
Samaritans: 116 123
Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87
Anxiety UK: 03444 775 774
CALM: CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35: 0800 58 58 58
Mind: 0300 123 3393
Victim Support: 0808 168 9111
Beat: Supporting people with eating disorders: 0808 801 0677 (for adults) or 0808 801 0711 (for under 18’s)
You are never alone, its good to talk, it’s ok not to be ok.