Feeling good about our bodies key to feeling good about ourselves, says University lecturer

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Date: 16th May 2019

Lecturers teaching BSc (Hons) Nursing (Mental Health) at Buckinghamshire New University have endorsed the 2019 Mental Health Awareness Week theme of Body Image, saying feeling good about our bodies is key to feeling good about ourselves.

Senior Lecturer (Mental Health) Kevin Acott said the degree encourages students to see people ‘holistically’, to help them help people to feel better about themselves inside and out, and appreciate people’s physical and psychological aspects.

Organised by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week, from 13-19 May, is encouraging debate and research around how we think and feel about our bodies. People can join the debate using #BeBodyKind.Body Image

“Body image issues can affect all of us, at any stage of life,” said Mr Acott.

“We live in an age in which we’re bombarded with images of how we should look, in which social media offers a thousand new, and old ways, in which we can choose to shame ourselves and others about our appearance.

“The way we feel about ourselves can affect our body image and our body image can affect the way we feel about ourselves, and at its worst, feelings of internal ugliness can reflect feelings of external ugliness.”

Mr Acott said teaching students ways in which they can help foster positive mental health for service users was a vital aspect of the degree.

He added: “The Mental Health team is acutely aware of the many ways in which issues of body image and mental well-being overlap and influence each other.

“We work hard to help students understand the distress caused by the sometimes debilitating effects of mental health problems, and their treatments, on the body and on body image.

“We work hard to teach students to work compassionately and non-judgmentally with people diagnosed with, for example, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, psychosis, and with depression.

“All of these issues can be intimately wrapped up with body image issues.”

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