The UK government is being urged to recognize the seriousness of body image fears, before young people suffered a long-term impact caused by depression, anxiety and eating issues, with one expert saying it was now normal for young people ‘to be unhappy with the way their bodies look’.
The Youth Select Committee (YSC), a British Youth Council initiative supported by the House of Commons, with 11 members aged 13-18, says body dissatisfaction can start as young as six in its report into the issue, A Body Confident Future.
Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, associate professor at the Centre for Appearance Research, University of the West of England, added that body dissatisfaction was the biggest known risk factor for eating disorders such as bulimia.
She told the BBC: “It is a really important mental health issue, and I don’t think it is taken seriously enough.”
The YSC heard from expert witnesses, including bloggers, social-media companies, teachers and mental-health professionals, on the subject and its report, is being sent to the government for an official response.
Among other things, it askes Parliament to: address current knowledge gaps, especially about body image in pre-adolescents; develop resources for groups other than women, who are targeted in most current campaigns; appoint a Government Equalities Office minister and for major brands to increase uptake of its Body Image Pledge.
“Body dissatisfaction must be recognised as a serious issue which potentially affects every young person. This report is only the first step; far more needs to be done by society at large to tackle this issue,” the YSC said.
The rising use of social media is also blamed for causing young people to worry about their body image while there are concerns that most campaigns are targeted at women, overlooking other groups such as young men, LGBT youth, ethnic minorities, and those with disabilities or serious illnesses.
The report found that body image worries could affect very young children.
Overcoming self-esteem issues and building self-confidence can be easily done with clinical hypnotherapy and the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH,) with almost 1,800 fully trained therapists across the UK, is there to help.
The NCH say clinical hypnotherapy can be used to help treat a wide range of issues such as fears and phobias, anxiety and stress, panic attacks, insomnia and lack of confidence along with weight management issues, stress and anxiety.
When seeing a hypnotherapist, they will assess your concern, identify its root – whether it is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship. Then they will set you a goal asking how you wish to feel, how you would like to be, and things that you would chose to do in your life.
They will then work with you to reach your goals using a range of different techniques. Every therapist may use slightly different techniques, but working towards the same goal.
“After sessions with the therapist you may feel more confident; more relaxed in situations that have previously challenged you. Many say that they are calmer and have more clarity of thought – able to make decisions more easily,” says the NCH. “Hypnotherapy unlocks the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently to situations in your life that may have previously were a concern.”