This week (13-19 May 2019) marks Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. Every year the Mental Health Foundation chooses an aspect or cause of mental health to focus on and in 2019 the theme is Body Image.

Jon Cruddas MP commented: "this is an important week to raise awareness and help break down stigmatisation and discrimination. There are some fantastic resources available online to help those dealing with mental ill health, and I urge people across Dagenham and Rainham to have a look at them."

The Mental Health Foundation have a series of publications which help to understand some of the causes of mental ill health and how best to deal with problems when they arise. You can find all their resources HERE

The theme for 2019 is body image and whilst not a mental health concern in and of itself, research has found that higher body dissatisfaction is associated with a poorer quality of life, psychological distress and the risk of unhealthy eating behaviours and eating disorders. The full report from the Mental Health Foundation can be found HERE

Statistics show that one in five UK adults feel worried about their body image due to social media and advertisements, and that this is leading to a rise in anxiety and depression.

Jon said: "social media seems to be a big cause of body image related anxiety. In 2016 the Mayor of London introduced a ban on ‘body-shaming' adverts on London transport – maybe it's time to look at how we can regulate ads on social media to further combat some of these issues."

Earlier this year the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham signed up to a Mental Health Charter to try and raise awareness in the area. The Charter places an emphasis on working with employers to improve mental health in the work place, and a commitment to working with partner organisations. Find out more HERE