0121 569 2899

Body Image & Eating Disorders

Body Image

What is Body Image?

Body image is the way we view our-self and the perspective in our minds of the way we look.

How can body image affect young people’s mental health?

If we have negative body image we can feel useless and can make us feel like we need to change ourselves, like what we eat or how we look. It can also affect our self-esteem.

When we have good body image we feel good about our appearance, proud and confident.

Top tips for improving your mental health:

  • Write or stick a positive quote on your mirror
  • Recognise when you are comparing yourself to others and argue the thought
  • Listen to positive music that promotes body positivity
  • Unfollow negative accounts and follow positive influencers
  • Be around people that make you feel good about yourself
  • Promote positive body image and make someone else feel good about themselves

Top tips for reducing appearance pressures:

  • Focus on your values (learning, humour, openness, resilience)
  • Avoid using filters on selfies
  • Reduce time spent on social media
  • Compliment ourselves and others on things that aren’t about appearance
  • Focus on good things about ourselves and others
  • Keep to the facts (eg: that picture is massively retouched no-one can actually look like that, everyone’s so different – we’re not supposed to look the same)
  • Comparing can have negative consequences
  • Body talk is any conversation about appearance. Body talk can cause problems for our self-esteem
  • Practice positive self-talk. Say, “My arms are strong” rather than, “My arms are too big.”
  • Appreciate what your body can do, such as laughing, dancing, and creating.
  • Be actively critical of media messages and images that make you feel as if you should be different. Unfollow accounts that make you feel bad.
  • Make a list of 10 things you like about yourself that aren’t related to your appearance.
  • Do something nice for your body, such as getting a massage or a haircut.
  • Instead of spending time thinking about your body, start a hobby, become a volunteer, or do something else that makes you feel good about yourself.

Where to go if you need advice and support:

Take a look at YoungMinds’ Body Image webpage

If you need to speak to someone try starting with a trusted adult at home or at school – they may have experienced this at some point in their life and can help.

If you feel this is affecting your eating and sleeping habits then contact your GP.

If you feel you are in crisis speak to Childline, Samaritans, or the Black Country Healthcare 24/7 Helpline on 0800 0086 516

Eating Disorders

You can find more information and support for eating disorders here.

If you want to go to and get help, but don’t know how to start this conversation, Beat have designed a leaflet for people with binge eating disorder to bring to a GP appointment, to help them get a quick referral from their GP to an eating disorders specialist. It has guidance for the person with BED, and a tear-off section for the GP. You can download the leaflet here.

This webpage has been made in collaboration with the Student Leadership Team at George Salter Academy in West Bromwich, Sandwell Council Public Health and the Black Country All Age Eating Disorder Service. The project has allowed the Student Leaders to learn more about body image and eating disorders. They are also organising some campaigns for their school and establishing a peer support programme.

George Salter Academy Student Ambassadors have been learning about body image and feel they have learnt:

  • I do not need to change me, my personality or my body because no one is perfect (Harry Y7).
  • We all have different bodies and need to learn to love ourselves (Jeneye Y7)
  • I am me, I do not need to change for anyone else especially not for the approval from others (Ryan Y9)