Mental Health Awareness Week - Social Media Causes Body Image Concerns

Millions of teenagers worry about body image and identify social media as a key cause – new survey by the Mental Health Foundation


Mental Health Awareness Week 2019Millions of teenagers in Britain worry about their body image according to a new British survey published by the Mental Health Foundation.

The online survey of British teenagers aged 13 to 19 was commissioned as part of Mental Health Awareness Week which this year has the theme of body image.

It found that almost one third (31 per cent) of teenagers felt ashamed in relation to their body image.

Four in ten teenagers (40 per cent) said images on social media had caused them to worry about body image.

More than a third of British teenagers (35 per cent) had stopped eating at some point or restricted their diets as a result of worrying about their body image.

Four in ten teenagers (40 per cent) said that things their friends have said have made them worry about their body image.

Thirty five per cent of teenagers worried in relation to their body image often or every day, and 37 per cent of teenagers felt upset and ashamed in relation to their body image.

Jane Caro, Programme Lead for Families, Children and Young People at the Mental Health Foundation said: “Our survey has shown that millions of young people in Britain are worrying about their body image. Worries about body image can lead to mental health problems and in some instances are linked to self-harm and suicidal thoughts and feelings.

“It is also clear from our survey that teenagers are identifying images on social media as a key factor that makes them worry about their body image. Conversations with their friends also have a major role in causing young people to worry.”

The Foundation report “Body Image: How we think and feel about our bodies” highlights the range of commercial and advertising pressures on body image which are contributing to mental health problems for millions of young people and calls for immediate action across all aspects of society to safeguard the health of teenagers as they grow up.

Jane said “Action starts in our families and homes with how we talk about our bodies and about eating, but we also need more regulation of advertising promoting idealised and unattainable body images. Social media companies should urgently up their game in taking practical steps to ensure that the content they promote does not exacerbate body image concerns.”



A selection of resources to help support schools with mental well-being are available as part of our Safeguarding Essentials membership package. Resources include classroom materials, parent guide, school checklist and policy and a staff training course. Find out more

Written by Safeguarding Essentials on May 16, 2019 10:02

Have your say: Mental Health - Young People and Teachers

Almost half of young people experiencing mental health concerns turn to their teachers for support


SGE Mental Well being sad 2In November, NHS released the findings of the “first national survey of children’s mental health to take place since 2004”.

The aim of the survey was “to find out about the mental health, development and wellbeing of children and young people aged between 2 and 19 years old in England”.

Key findings from the survey reported that:

  • One in eight 5 to 19 year olds had at least one mental disorder
  • Emotional disorders* were the most prevalent type experienced by 5 to 19 years olds
  • Mental disorders increased with age, reaching 16.9% of 17 to 19 year olds
  • When it came to education, the report found that on average 8.5% of children experiencing a mental health disorder were more likely to have played truant (compared to 0.8% without a disorder). This figure increased to 11.2% amongst those with a behavioural disorder*.

    In further striking findings, young people with mental disorders were twice as likely to have experienced cyber bullying in the last year. The report also found that young people with a disorder were more likely to have:

  • spent longer (four hours or more) on social media
  • compared themselves to others when online
  • felt that the number of ‘likes’ they got affected their mood
  • The survey identified that two-thirds of young people experiencing problems did have contact with a professional service and that teachers were the most commonly cited source of support. Reassuringly, only 10% of these young people felt that this particular support was unhelpful.

    With such a large proportion of young people turning to their teachers for support, it is concerning that a recent survey by Mental Health Foundation Scotland, most teachers felt they lacked the training to help pupils with mental health issues. The survey also identified that around half of the staff questioned felt that the pressures of the job had contributed to mental health issues amongst the teachers themselves.

    The report found that 85% of those surveyed felt that more training in this area could help them take better care of their own emotional condition.


    Have your say

    Do you feel that there is sufficient support for teaching staff around mental health issues? Do you think there is too much pressure on schools to deal with these areas? Have you or your school been particularly successful in handling the matter? Let us know your thoughts and suggestions using the comments section below.



    *Mental disorders were grouped into four main types: emotional, behavioural, hyperactivity and other

    Written by Safeguarding Essentials on December 13, 2018 12:05

    World Mental Health Day – 10th October

    Young people and mental health in a changing world


    WMHD LogoOn October 10th, people around the world will be taking part in the annual World Mental Health Day, drawing attention to the importance of mental well-being.

    Organised by the World Federation for Mental Health since 1992 and supported by many of the national and international charities, this year the theme will focus on young people and mental health, highlighting the additional stresses faced by today’s youth that can lead to mental health issues.

    According to the Mental Health Foundation, around 1 in 10 children and young people are affected by mental health problems including depressions and anxiety. However, they report a more worrying figure in that 70% of those young people have not received help at a sufficiently early age.

    UK charity Young Minds report that half of mental health problems are evident by the age of 14, reaching 75% by the age of 24 – this goes to reinforce the importance of early intervention wherever possible.

    WFMH President, Professor Alberto Trimboli adds: “This year, World Mental Health Day will talk about the issues facing young people and cover a small portion of the great research, stories, ideas and programs out there to help the next generations be strong and resilient in the face of hardship, life changes, discrimination and destruction. This information is only the beginning – there is an abundance of great information, organizations and advocates out there fighting for the wellbeing of young people

    We ask that you join the 2018 World Mental Health Day campaign and help us create a larger audience, a greater impact and a unified voice for global mental health!”

    The key topics being addressed, particularly focusing on young people, in the activities supporting World Mental Health Day this year include:

  • Bullying and cyber bullying
  • The effects of trauma
  • Major illnesses
  • Suicide
  • Gender identity
  • Ultimately the goal of WMHD is to look for a way forward: “We all know that a young person with support, stability and the information will usually lead to a positive, healthy adult. So, how do we make sure our young people have all the skills and support they need to achieve that? Early interventions, prevention, resilience support and programs to educate young people and the world around them. Following are just a few examples of ways we can help create an environment that leads to resilience and happiness.”

    For more information about the campaign, visit the World Foundation for Mental Health website



    For a range of mental well-being resources including teaching materials, parents guides and staff training, join our Safeguarding Essentials service.

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    Written by Safeguarding Essentials on October 04, 2018 12:24


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