Body Image

Here is some useful information for anyone experiencing difficulty with their body image. Body image is how someone sees themselves and feels about themselves physically. It also includes how someone believes others see them. 

One survey by The Mental Health Foundation discovered that 35% of young people between 13-19 years old stated that their body image caused them to worry frequently or all of the time. Females and males can experience difficulty with one survey showing that 45% of girls and 25% of boys experienced difficulties with their body image.

For those experiencing difficulties with their own body image, they may have worries and concerns surrounding the following:

  • Comparing themselves with others and images seen on social media.
  • Struggles to accept and love themselves.
  • Feelings that their body shape isn’t represented on social media.
  • Covering their body due to shame.
  • Difficulty finding clothing especially if someone has a disability.
  • Being misunderstood especially if someone has preconceptions e.g. for someone who is a wheelchair user.
  • Feelings of not being attractive enough.
  • A birthmark or surgery scars or acne can affect how a young person feels about themselves.
  • A feeling that their body doesn’t align with their sexuality.

Some things can negatively affect the way someone thinks and feels about themselves including e.g. comments made by others, adverts, a lack of choice of clothing that fit in shops and online, social media promoting a ‘perfect/ideal’ shape.


How can all of this affect a young person?

  • Eating habits can change e.g. eating more, eating less, eating irregularly.
  • Difficulty dressing and going out.
  • Unable to socialise with friends.


Someone can experience these difficulties at any time but it is more common during puberty – at this time, a young person can feel more self-conscious about how they look and how others view them. Everyone can have these feelings but they can affect some worse than others and this can lead to anxiety. This, in turn, can then cause:

  • Low self-esteem/self-worth.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Disordered eating.
  • A preoccupation with image.


So what can help?

The Head of Year is the best first port of call as they can have a chat about support that is available in school e.g. CAMHS deliver group sessions specifically on body image, the school nurse can provide emotional support and medical advice especially if a young person’s eating has become disordered.

It’s really important that anyone experiencing difficulty with their body/self-image: 

  • Is kind to themselves and doesn’t compare themselves with others.
  • beidio dilyn cyfrifon sydd yn gwneud i chi deimlo’n wael ond, yn hytrach, dilyn rhai sydd yn gwneud i chi deimlo’n dda.Doesn’t follow social media accounts that have a negative effect but, instead, follow individuals with positive messages.
  • Focusses upon a part of their body that they do like and feel positive about.
  • Spend time with people who make them feel good about themselves.
  • Talk with someone they trust and share how they’re feeling.
  • Talk to the doctor.


Body Positivity

This is a campaign that promotes all body types and shapes on social media, television, in films etc. It’s really important that everyone accepts their body and the way that they look. This makes someone feel better, happier, more confident and comfortable. This can take time, it’s a process.


Websites and useful contacts:

Young Minds – relevant pages

Mentally Healthy Schools

Charlie Waller Trust


School Nursing Service   07312 263 262 (if a young person wants to speak with someone confidentially).