Body Image and Mental Health

Part of Exiting the European Union (Transport) – in the House of Commons at 2:54 pm on 23rd July 2019.

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Photo of Lisa Cameron Lisa Cameron Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Mental Health) 2:54 pm, 23rd July 2019

Indeed.

Body image is a very important issue, and it is an interesting one as well, because it is coming more to the fore through social media and through society in current times, when there is this striving for perfection. As we heard, in the past that might have been about looking through glossy magazines , but now it is all about how glamourous we can look on Facebook or Twitter, how many friends we have, and how many people want to befriend us because of the way we look—because they think that equates with our being some kind of fantastic person, when of course it often does not. And sometimes the most glamorous of people can also be the most shallow, I have to say.

Society is encouraging stereotypes that place great stresses on our young people today, and that has an adverse impact on their mental health. Social media companies must look at this in much more detail in terms of regulation, as we have heard. I have been very pleased to contribute to the work done through the Department, which is looking at issues of social media abuse and the impact of social media on young people’s development and mental health and how they relate to the world. It is almost as if we have become an artificial world rather than engaging with each other in our day-to-day lives just as we are, with all our diverse shapes and sizes being the norm.