Mental Health Awareness Week 13-19 May 2019

Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 will take place from Monday 13 to Sunday 19 May 2019. The theme for 2019 is Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies.

This year’s theme of Body Image is an interesting one. In the field of Nutrition I spend the majority of my time working with clients who in one way or another are struggling with body issues. This may be the more obvious issue of managing their weight and achieving a body which they are comfortable in. It’s also true of many clients dealing with long term chronic illness where issues relating to their body’s function and ability to perform lead to feelings of low mood, anxiety and in some depression. It stands to reason that when our body image is balanced, our mental health is more likely to follow suit.

Body image issues can affect all of us at any age. Our relationship with our bodies evolves continually and can change by life stage, giving rise to issues at any time. This is especially true for women in the postnatal period and one of the reasons why I am proud to be collaborating with the Association of Post Natal Illness (APNI) again this year to provide helpful tips on diet and nutrition to support women with Post Natal Depression. More than 1/10 women develop mental illness during pregnancy or soon after giving birth and the work the APNI do is crucial for supporting new mums during this time. You can follow them on facebook


Why does body image matter?

Mental Health Foundation CEO, Mark Rowland, explains why they’ve chosen Body Image as this years theme below…

We are all intimately aware of the particular idiosyncrasies of our own body; its strengths and wonders and its limitations.  No piece of technology that you will ever buy will match the complexity, sophistication and regenerative powers of your body.

And yet… For too many of us, our bodies are sources of shame and distress.  From an early age, we are bombarded with images that define what an ‘ideal body’ looks like.  Sometimes we have faced stigma or cruelty as friends and family have used how we look as a way to put us down for a cheap laugh.

And although we know girls and young women are particularly vulnerable to poor body image, this year we will explore body image as an issue that cuts across gender, age, sexuality and ethnicity. Bodyguard star Richard Madden is among the surprising voices to have spoken out recently against the demands they face to look a certain way.

Body image is closely linked with mental health

All this might not be so serious if it didn’t have profound implications for our mental and physical health. The opposite also seems true: the more comfortable you are with your body, the greater your overall wellbeing, and the less likely you are to engage in destructive behaviours.

Read more at the Mental Health Foundation where you can also find a series of free downloadable Mental Health Guides on supporting mental health, overcoming anxiety, reducing stress, improving sleep, and more.

In support of Mental Health Awareness Week I’ll be sharing a series of articles next week discussing Body image, Diet & Nutrition.

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