New manifesto highlights disparity in physical and mental health at work

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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".

Body Image: How we think and feel about our bodies - also found that just over one in three adults has felt depressed because of their body image, while 20% have felt "shame" because of their body image over the past year.

The poll - which the charity commissioned from YouGov - asked more than 1,000 Scottish adults about their views on body image.

In addition, more than a third of teenagers (37%) felt upset about their body image, while 31% said they felt ashamed of it.

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Women were more badly affected than men, with 11 per cent of Scots women admitting they had "deliberately hurt themselves" due to their 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. "Many people identified social media as an important factor causing them to worry about their body image, and the majority of respondents felt the Government needed to take more action". Chief executive Mark Rowland said the research showed millions of adults were struggling with concerns about their body image.

Almost six in 10 adults think the UK Government should do more to protect the public from the presentation or use of unhealthy body images in advertising and social media. The survey also found less than a fifth of young people said that looking at social media "positively affected" how confident they felt about the way they look. 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.

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".

"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".

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"Our thorough approach to mental health awareness starts in the classroom, where students receive dedicated wellbeing and healthy lifestyle lessons in tutorial time, including key information about mental health and signposting to support agencies".

"We particularly welcome the commitment to addressing the impact of social media on body image".

Main image by Free-Photos from Pixabay.

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