JUST over one in seven Renfrewshire adults have experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of concerns about their body image, according to a new poll by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland.

The YouGov online poll of 1012 Scottish adults aged 18 and above was commissioned by the charity to examine the impact of body image issues on mental health to the mark the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, which begins on Monday. 

The poll – which was published as part of a report “Body Image: How we think and feel about our bodies” - also found that just over on third of all adults said they have felt anxious because of their body image. 

And a quarter adults have felt “disgusted” because of their body image in the last year, while nearly a quarter said they had felt "shame". 

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The poll found that body image issues affected women more than men, with 11 per cent saying they have "deliberately hurt themselves" because of their body image, compared to 4 per cent of men.

But the poll found that body image issues can also affect large numbers of men and could affect people throughout their lives. 

Over a quarter of men have felt depressed because of their body image. And just over a quarter of people aged 55 and above have said that their body image had a negative impact on their self-esteem.

Just over one fifth of all adults and nearly half of 18-24 year olds said images on social media had caused them to worry about their body image. 

And just over two fifths of 18-24 year olds said that images used in advertising had a similar impact.

The charity is demanding reform in relation to social media and advertising that is linked to worry about body image. 

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The charity also gives advice and tips about how people can take individual action to protect themselves.

Julie Cameron, head of programmes at Mental Health Foundation Scotland, said: “Our poll has uncovered that millions of adults across Scotland are struggling with concerns about their body image. For some people this is potentially very severe with large numbers of people saying they have self-harmed or had suicidal thoughts and feelings.

“Women, and particularly young women, are showing the highest rates of distress. Significant numbers have felt feelings of disgust and shame or changed their behaviour to avoid situations that make them reflect negatively about their bodies."

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