Focus on what matters during this Mental Health Awareness Week

Date: 14 May 2019

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Mental Health Awareness Week’s focus on body image reminds us that how we look is just one component of who we are. It’s also a chance to reflect that differences in our appearance are just another strand in the diversity that makes life interesting.

Almost all the patients seen by BEH’s specialist eating disorder team either have – or are overcoming – a negative body image. Those who support them say that modern life is aggravating the insecurities people have always felt about their appearance.

Dr Ayo Sodeke-Gregson, Psychological Therapies Lead with BEH’s eating disorders service, says: “We’re bombarded with thousands of images of the perfect body or ways to ‘look better’ every day – and that’s just walking down the street. Now social media bombards us with such images. For me, one of the most important things is that society needs to value individuals for who they are and what they do – not what they look like.

“People need to value themselves on their unique attributes and skills and understand that they are more than the way they look or their body shape.”

Treatment for eating disorders increasingly involves building body acceptance rather than body satisfaction, Ayo says.

She points out: “After all, people seeing you for the first time will remember your smile and how you made them feel rather than just remembering you for your appearance.”

So let’s use this Mental Health Awareness Week to appreciate who we are.

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from Monday 13 May to Sunday 19 May.

  • Summary:

    Mental Health Awareness Week’s focus on body image reminds us that how we look is just one component of who we are. It’s also a chance to reflect that differences in our appearance are just another strand in the diversity that makes life interesting.