This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation. From 13th to 19th May, companies and organisations across the UK will be raising awareness and igniting the conversation surrounding mental health.
The theme for this year's Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘body image’. This theme prompts us to think about how we view our bodies and discuss the damaging images we are bombarded with in the media that define what an ‘ideal body’ looks like.
Why does body image matter?
Body image is closely linked with mental health and can have profound implications. It has been shown that the more comfortable you are with your body the greater your overall well-being.
This year’s theme explores body image as an issue that cuts across gender, age, sexuality and ethnicity. We all have a role in creating a culture where we help others feel comfortable in their own skin.
The Mental Health Foundation are aiming 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 gnawing and sometimes debilitating sense of dissatisfaction with our bodies’.
Since the first Mental Health Awareness Week in 2001, the Mental Health Foundation have raised awareness of topics like stress, relationships, loneliness, altruism, sleep, alcohol and friendship. This dedication to start the conversation concerning these topics and addressing the stigma is making a real difference to people across the UK.
At Catsurveys, we ensure that we look after the mental health and well-being of our staff with the same level of support that we would look after their physical health. In the construction industry, we are always making sure that we have safety procedures, PPE and risk assessments in place for our staff’s physical well-being on site – but what about their mental health?
Let’s make a change
There are ways that anguish linked to poor body image and the related mental health problems can be prevented. All of us need to promote change in cultural values, parenting styles, schooling approaches, use of technology, advertising standards and reduce discrimination to make a real difference.
Last year, the Mental Health Foundation successfully put a ban on a series of cosmetic surgery adverts that were shown around the TV show Love Island. They warned the Advertising Standards Authority that the ads ‘painted a false picture of perfection’ and ‘exacerbated young people’s insecurities’ – and the ASA agreed, ruling in favour of this proposal.
It is important that we raise awareness and look after ourselves and each other. During Mental Health Awareness Week let’s ensure that we start the conversation and offer support to our peers – and let this approach continue.
Let us know what you are doing to support Mental Health Awareness Week 2019! You can find more information on their website by clicking here.