Half of men have suffered mental health issues over body image, study shows
Fifty eight per cent of young men have felt negatively about their body as a result of the pandemic, study finds
With England "in the grip of a mental health crisis" according to The Royal College of Psychiatrists, one issue negatively impacting British men is body image.
The coronavirus pandemic, and the impact of multiple lockdowns on our daily lives, have put the spotlight on this subject more than ever.
New research, based on a study of 2,000 men aged between 16-40, has found that 58 per cent of those surveyed have felt negatively about their body as a direct consequence of the global pandemic.
The study was conducted by Instagram and the suicide prevention charity, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).
Nearly 50 per cent of respondents said their mental health has suffered as a result of their body insecurity.
According to the recent study, roughly a quarter of the young men who took part were happy with their appearance.
Some men have have admitted to not feeling comfortable talking about the issues surrounding body image to others, with just over 20 per cent of respondents claiming they do not feel at ease discussing the topic.
CALM and Instagram have come together to launch a new series called CALM Body Talks, which will include interviews with public figures talking about their bodies, with the intention to spark conversation on this still taboo subject.
Celebrities involved in the new series include the likes of Jamie Laing, Leon Mckenzie, Russell Kane and body acceptance activist Stevie Blaine. Their discussions will show that body image worries can affect anyone.
Jamie Laing, the Made in Chelsea star said: "Like so many men, I have experienced a variety of body image concerns in my life. From worrying about my weight when I gave up playing rugby as a teenager, to stressing about my hair loss in my late 20s, these are issues I struggled to talk about at first.... We all have off days when we look in the mirror, but we can either learn to love what we see or make positive changes - the key is to do it for yourself and your mental health!"
The writer and comedian Russel Kane referenced the national lockdowns as a reason for people feeling more concerned about their body image.
He said: "The last 12 months have had a huge impact on the nation’s physical and mental health, and for many a knock on effect for how they feel about themselves. A more sedentary lifestyle, brought on by multiple lockdowns, has meant looking in the mirror for some is a more worrying experience than usual.
"Despite so many men feeling the same way, we know blokes are unlikely to open up about their concerns, and this bottling up of emotions can have serious mental health repercussions. Whether it’s being honest about your hairline worries to your partner, or proudly posting a selfie in your swim shorts to Instagram- It’s time to get talking!"
Stevie Blaine, who has spoken about body image publicly for years, also commented on the tendency for men to avoid opening up about important issues, such as body image.
He said: "Men and talking about body image usually don’t mix. Despite many women being empowered to open up about their bodies and how they feel, men often stay silent and this has huge impacts on their mental health.
"Through working with CALM and Instagram, I hope that the ‘BodyTalks’ series will help to normalise discussion of male body image, and get more guys to accept and to love the skin they are in!"
If you are struggling, you can talk to CALM on 0800 58 58 58 (UK) or via their web chat.