MORE than one in eight Brits has experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of their body image, a new survey has found.
Research found 13 per cent of adults had experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of concerns about the way they look.
Getty – Contributor One in eight British adults say they have felt suicidal over the way their body looks
The survey of 4,505 adults by the Mental Health Foundation also found that about a third of UK adults have felt anxious or depressed due to their body image.
It comes on the same day a YMCA survey found almost two-thirds of young people felt pressure to look their best online and 67% regularly worry about their appearance.
The two reports were published on Monday at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, which has the theme this year of body image.
The Mental Health Foundation survey also found about one in five adults felt “disgusted” or “shame” because of their body image in the last year.
‘Social media to blame’
Chief executive Mark Rowland said the research showed millions of adults were struggling with concerns about their body image.
He added: “For some people this is potentially very severe, with large numbers saying they have self-harmed or had suicidal thoughts and feelings.
“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.”
The charity is calling on the UK Government and industries to take action including regulating social media and giving more powers to the Advertising Standards Authority.
Social media continues to present a multitude of dangers for young people which they have been left to navigate on their own devicesDenise HattonYMCA chief exec in England and Wales
The YMCA spoke to more than 2,000 young people aged 11 to 24 years old as part of its new report, which is part of the charity’s Be Real Campaign.
The campaign urges people to sign up to its Body Image Pledge which includes limiting or stopping editing their social media posts.
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.’Celebs could do more’
More than half said that celebrities and “influencers” sharing more realistic images of themselves would encourage people to post content that more accurately reflects what they look like in real life, it found.
YMCA England and Wales chief executive Denise Hatton said social media presents “a multitude of dangers” for young people.
She added: “Social media continues to present a multitude of dangers for young people which they have been left to navigate on their own devices.
“These dangers are not just limited to the content they see, but also the pressure young people face to emulate them.”
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
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Barnardo’s has also published some “top tips” for parents on how to help their children celebrate who they are and be confident in themselves.
Helping children understand images in adverts and in the media have often been airbrushed;
Talking about and “celebrating” different body shapes and sizes;
Trying to have “relaxed” conversations about any body insecurities they have and not making it a “big thing”;
Encouraging them to eat well and exercise regularly
It is being supported by ex-England striker Jamie Vardy’s wife Rebekah, who said parents can help by encouraging their children to have a positive body image.
Student Connie Inglis who was given weeks to live due to her severe anorexia says she used social media to spread a body positive message
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