MP backing positive body image message of Mental Health Awareness Week

Gloria De Piero MP
Gloria De Piero MP

If I asked you if you had ever felt down about the way you look or wished you were thinner, taller or more muscular, I bet that nearly all of you would say you had, writes Gloria De Piero MP.

While comparing yourself to others is natural, this can turn into an obsession which can seriously affect your mental wellbeing and health.

That is why last week’s Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, took the theme of body image this year.

Statistics show that in the last year, one in five UK adults admitted to feeling down or low about their body and 19 per cent felt disgusted about their body.

This is leading to a rise in anxiety and depression as well as a risk of unhealthy eating behaviours and eating disorders.

Teenagers are arguably even more at risk, so The Mental Health Foundation suggests some practical steps that we can all take to protect our mental health and well-being.

These include talking to a friend, trusted adult or health professional if you realise that thoughts about your body image are causing you significant amounts of stress.

Also, limit use of social media and unfollow accounts that lead you to making comparisons that make you feel bad about yourself.

Parents can encourage their children to be body positive by not criticising theirs or other people’s looks around their children, eating healthily and staying active.

It is so important to remember that we are more than just the way we look.

READ THIS: Survivors need our thoughts as much as victims.

I was one of 120 MPs who signed a letter to the Justice Secretary, urging him to launch an inquiry into how family courts treat victims of rape and domestic violence.

At least four children have been killed by a parent in the last five years after a family court granted access – even though they had a history of violence.

The lack of transparency in family courts means that decisions cannot be scrutinised properly and the extent of the problem is masked.

We need to see how bad this problem is so that appropriate reforms can be made to protect our children.