More than a third of adults in the UK have felt anxious or depressed because of concerns about their body image.
The research by the Mental Health Foundation also found that 13% of adults had experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of concerns about their body.
The theme of this years Mental Health Awareness Week is body image.
Chief executive Mark Rowland said the research showed millions of adults were struggling with concerns about their body image.
He added: “For some people this is potentially very severe, with large numbers saying they have self-harmed or had suicidal thoughts and feelings.
“Many people identified social media as an important factor causing them to worry about their body image – and the majority of respondents felt the Government needed to take more action.”
The charity is calling on the UK Government and industries to take action including regulating social media and giving more powers to the Advertising Standards Authority.
The YMCA spoke to more than 2,000 young people aged 11 to 24 years old as part of its new report, which is part of the charity’s Be Real Campaign.
The campaign urges people to sign up to its Body Image Pledge which includes limiting or stopping editing their social media posts.
Barnardo’s has published some “top tips” for parents and carers on how to help children celebrate who they are and be confident in themselves.
- Helping children understand images in adverts and in the media have often been airbrushed;
- Talking about and “celebrating” different body shapes and sizes;
- Trying to have “relaxed” conversations about any body insecurities they have and not making it a “big thing”;
- Encouraging them to eat well and exercise regularly.
For more information about body image, mental health and young people, contact: