A new group will examine how body image impacts on young people’s mental wellbeing.
The SNP Government’s Advisory Group on Healthy Body Image will include members from youth, third sector and equalities groups and identify steps to improve support for young people and advice for relevant professionals.
The announcement ties in with Mental Health Awareness Week from Monday 13 – Sunday 19 May, which is organised by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF). This year’s theme is body image.
Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey MSP, who is visiting Girlguiding Scotland on Tuesday 14 May said:
“Mental Health Awareness week’s theme this year is body image. This will be the focus of my visit to Girlguiding Scotland, where I’ll outline the aims of our new advisory group.
“This will build on our package of measures to improve the mental health of young people, and directly target the impact of social media and body image on mental wellbeing.
“Funding of £90,000 will help deliver advice on the healthy use of social media and screen time, and review evidence on the effects of screen use on sleep and the implications of this for mental health.”
New data about the impact of body image on young people’s mental health will be published by MHF during Mental Health Awareness Week.
Julie Cameron, Head of Programmes at MHF Scotland said:
“We welcome the commitment from the SNP Government to establish a new National Advisory Group on Healthy Body to improve support for young people and health professionals.
“Our research published this week highlights the huge impact that negative body image can have on the mental health of both adults and young people.
“We particularly welcome the commitment to addressing the impact of social media on body image. Our report and survey uncovered evidence that both social media and online advertising are contributing to mental health problems for thousands of people across Scotland.
“Now is the time to address these pressures head-on and we look forward to playing our full part in the new advisory group.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
"From recently published research, we know that body image is a concern for children and young people – adolescent girls in particular.
“It is vitally important that we create a society where people do not suffer because of concerns about body image and don’t feel pressured to live up to a false sense of perfection.
“I welcome the announcement of the Advisory Group, which will begin its six-month long research later this year, and look forward to seeing their findings and recommendations.”