Body Image and Mental Health

Part of Exiting the European Union (Transport) – in the House of Commons at 2:17 pm on 23rd July 2019.

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Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 2:17 pm, 23rd July 2019

I agree with that. Through the new personal education that will be rolled out next year, we will have the ability to address that issue. I would just say that we need to be careful about this and to give some scrutiny to what the content of that might be. We have to really make sure that people respect the fact that we are all different and we all come in odd shapes and sizes, but everyone is beautiful. That is a really important message to convey. It will be incredibly challenging to get that content right, and we do need to bring some scrutiny to that.

Body image is clearly a strong contributory factor in many cases of mental ill health. I am pleased that we are starting to tackle some of these issues, but there is a long way to go. We have reached a stage at which the herd has gone so far down the road that the idealised view that everyone is a size zero model whose perfectly coiffed, long, naturally blonde or brunette hair has no shades of grey and no curls has taken hold. It will take a long time to turn that juggernaut around, but in the interests of a healthy society we all need to get a grip.