13-17th May marks this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, an initiative established by the Mental Health Foundation to encourage people across the UK to talk about mental health.
With 30% of adults in the UK feeling so stressed by body image or appearance that they are overwhelmed or unable to cope1, MHF chose body image as the theme for 2019.
Body image can affect all of us at any age, and directly impact our mental health. In addition, several studies have found physical disability to have a negative impact on how people feel about their bodies2-5.
Research shows that feedback from an individual’s social environment impacts how they feel about their body6. Reducing stigma and increasing support for individuals with disabilities has a positive impact on their body image7, 8, and also their mental health.
MHF are working to tackle body image issues through changing the way we talk about our bodies on a daily basis, making sure children receive positive messages about their body image whilst at school, and encouraging policy change by governments across the UK.
Ability Matters is keen to support MHF this week, and would like to encourage you to get involved by speaking up about your experiences of mental health issues and body image. Find out more about how you can be a part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2019.
- Mental Health Foundation (2008). Stress: Are we coping? Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/stress-are-we-coping
- Taleporos, G., & McCabe M. P. (2001). The impact of physical disability on body esteem. Sexuality and disability, 19, 293-308.
- Taleporos, G., & McCabe M. P. (2002). Body image and physical disability – personal perspectives. Social Science & Medicine, 54, 971-980.
- Wolman, C., Resnick, M. D., Harris, L. J., & Blum, R. W. (1994). Emotional well-being among adolescents with and without chronic conditions. Journal of Adolescent Health, 1994, 199-204.
- Taleporos, G., & McCabe, M. P. (2005). The relationship between the severity and duration of physical disability and body esteem. Psychology & Health, 2005, 637-650.
- Rybarczyk, B., Nyenhuis, D. L., Nicholas, J. J., Cash, S. M., & Kaiser, J. (1995). Body image, perceived social stigma, and the prediction of psychosocial adjustment to leg amputation. Rehabilitation Psychology, 40, 95-110.
- Tylka, T. L. (2012). Positive psychology perspectives on body image. In T. E. Cash (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of Body Image and Human Appearance (657-663). Cambridge, MA: Academic Press.
- Bailey, K. A., Gammage, K. L., Ingen, C., & Ditor, D. S. (2015). “It’s all about acceptance”: A qualitative study exploring a model of positive body image for people with spinal cord injury. Body Image, 15, 24-34.