New Acas advice on creating a positive mental health environment at work

Suzie Karsnia

The charity wants tough reforms to the social media and advertising linked by critics to body image problems.

The advice includes suggestions such as employers leading on a wellbeing strategy at work; supporting and training managers to have the confidence and knowledge in managing mental health; and workers identifying personal stress triggers, supporting colleagues and asking for help when needed.

The announcement comes ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week - organised by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) - which this year focuses on body image.

The "Big Brew" takes place during Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May) across the co-op's business support centre, food stores, funeral homes and travel shops.

"The majority of workers have felt stressed or anxious about work over the past year."

Julie Cameron of MHF Scotland said: "Our poll has uncovered that millions of adults across Scotland are struggling with concerns about their body image".

"For some this is potentially very severe, with people saying they have self-harmed or had suicidal thoughts and feelings".

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"Body image issues can affect anyone and at any stage in life. Social media companies should urgently up their game in taking practical steps to ensure that the content they promote does not exacerbate body image concerns".

"This could be enforced by the proposed new independent regulator, which is already part of the government proposals".

Glasgow University student Kelly Macarthur has spent years with an eating disorder and now unfollows anyone who tries to sell diet products on social media. If they only show one body size then this becomes a social norm, which is risky.

'Whilst many employers are claiming to take mental health more seriously, the feedback I'm getting on my travels around the United Kingdom is that many of them are paying it lip service, ' said Natasha Devon MBE, WHYA campaigner and author, 'Our research shows that people still feel the stigma of discussing mental health in the workplace, fearing they will be seen as "unprofessional" if they do disclose a mental health issue. "There needs to be more awareness that mental illness is not something anybody chooses, it isn't something that they should be looked down on or criticized for".

To mark the start of Mental Health Awareness week, we take a look a closer look at why negative body image is affecting more people from a younger age.

The survey asked people about their experiences with social media and advertising.

Results revealed almost a third (31%) of teens feel ashamed about their body image.

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