Young People and Body Image - Challenging the 'ideal'

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Online forum discussing the issues surrounding body image amongst young people and celebrating body positivity

About this Event

Issues with body image in society is not a new phenomenon, yet since the start of the Millennium and the explosion in use of social media, more and more young people, at increasingly younger ages, are looking for the perfect body that is so often portrayed in media.

Red Harbour’s latest virtual event will be looking at body image concerning both boys and girls. However, this event has been timed to coincide with the results from the First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls, spotlight focus on Body Image that ran throughout September and October.

So often girls and boys are trying to achieve the unachievable by emulating models and celebrities, whose images have being airbrushed or their bodies enhanced by cosmetic surgery and expensive lifestyles. With the constant striving for the perfect selfie, young people are going to extreme lengths including engaging with surgery and extreme dieting, at a young age while their body is still developing.

There has been some signs of a positive shift, with brands such as Dove celebrating diverse body types in its models and this movement is one to be harnessed and promoted by role models and society at large.

Engaging with an unhealthy fixation on the appearance of your body at such a young age can have long term mental health issues and result in high risk-taking behaviours. A study by ‘Be Real’ and reported by Mental Health Foundation found that 36% said they would do ‘whatever it took’ to look good. Pressure to look a certain way and dissatisfaction when you don’t, can be accompanied by mental health disorders, such as anxiety, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts.

Delighted to announce our panel to date:

• Julie Cameron, Associate Director, Mental Health Foundation

• Con Lafferty, Registered Mental Health Nurse, Harm Reduction Team, NHS Lothian

• Assa Samaké-Roman, Freelance Journalist

• Kara Wilson, Speak Out Champion, Girlguiding Scotland

For speaker biographies, please follow this link

This event will look at the following:

• Summary of the First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls

• Final recommendations of ‘Healthy Body Image for Children and Young People Advisory Group – the process and implications

• The next steps from the recommendations undertaken by Scottish Government

• The findings on body image and social media from Girlguiding Scotland’s Girls in Scotland 2020 report

• The use of image and performance enhancing drugs and the link with body image and childhood experience

• The key issues around body image and the long-term effects

• The Body Positivity movement around colour and disability

• Resources available to Professionals (and parents) working with young people

Attendees who come from an education, child psychology, youth support or who work with children and young people in youth clubs, sports groups or other settings, will hear the latest views in this area from our panel of experts, as well as equipping themselves to be able to identify, understand and help support young people through their own challenges with body image.

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