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#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek to focus on body image

This week is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek in the UK, in which it aims to shed a light on issues surrounding mental health, as well as encourage a message of having good mental health. This year’s theme is body image.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, body image refers to the way in which we think and feel about our bodies. Although this in itself is not considered a mental health issue, it tends to be a “risk factor” for mental health issues. [1]

Mental Health Foundation conducted a study in March to discover how many of us in the UK are affected by this issue, and this revealed shocking results. [1] Out of 4,505 adults, it was revealed that 20% felt shame over their body image and 19% felt disgusted. 13% of adults also experienced suicidal thoughts and feelings due to concerns related to body image.

Furthermore, the number increased for teenagers, with 37% feeling upset and 31% feeling ashamed. 40% also revealed that their negative body image arose from images on social media. [1]

With the revelation of these results, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, Mark Rowland, said that the statistics clearly demonstrated the “adverse effect” that body image had on people’s wellbeing. [2] He added:

“For some people this is potentially very severe, with large numbers saying they have self-harmed or had suicidal thoughts and feelings.” [2]

Sarb Bajwa, chief executive of the British Psychological Society, also shared her enthusiasm on the awareness:

“Worries about how we look can impact our self-esteem and confidence, and the media has a strong influence on what we think a ‘normal’ body looks like.” [3]

As #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek coincides with Ramaḍān, we must remember that we are not exempt from being affected by the issues surrounding body image. At least 25% of people in the UK are affected by mental health issues, regardless of their background. In fact, there appears to be an increasing trend of losing weight in the month of Ramaḍān. A quick internet search on the matter will lead to over 5.8 million results, [4] including WikiHows, YouTube videos, tips, and even a Ramaḍān bootcamp for Muslim women. [5] Thus, it is important to be mindful of our own mental health this month, in shā’ Allāh.

Mental Health Foundation are encouraging everyone to get involved in #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. If you know someone who might be affected by a mental health issue, please try to help them. As the Prophet (ṣall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“There are two blessings which many people waste: health and free time.”[6]

In shā’ Allāh, let us take good care of our health.

Also read:

How to Overcome Sadness

Study confirms Muslims have the highest life satisfaction








[6] Al-Bukhārī

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