According to a new study, almost half of UK men say poor body image has affected their mental health.
Research by suicide prevention fund Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and Facebook found 48% of men aged 16-40 had strived because of how they feel about themselves. Of 2,000 males asked, 58% said the pandemic transformed how they think about their body negatively.
Only 26% said they were satisfied with how they look.
And 21% said they don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone regarding it.
Spencer Cooper, 22, is among the 48% – and says the pandemic played a big part in his poor body image and mental health.
“During the lockdown, I saw everyone was doing home workouts on Facebook and Instagram Live. I was thinking, ‘Right, okay, I’m going to try that,'” he tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.
“I did a couple, but it wasn’t for me, I couldn’t do it, and I think I made myself feel very guilty for that.
“Everyone on social media seemed to be getting fitter, healthier, and doing well – and I seemed to be doing the opposite,” Spencer says that even though the new figures are high, he would have expected them to be even higher.
“When your clothes start not to fit, the shops aren’t open, and all of a sudden you don’t look good, you don’t feel good, and you’re very unhappy in your body image,” he adds.
“When you already didn’t feel good to start with because of the pandemic and not seeing friends, it hits you quite hard.”
Body image campaigners Jamie Laing, Stevie Blaine, Leon McKenzie, and Russell Kane are all involved in the series.
“Growing up, I was quickly aware that my body was different to those around me,” Stevie Blaine tells the BBC.
Stevie says he struggled with his weight during his teens and later when he experienced hair loss in his late 20s – and says he went through “a decade of self-hate.”
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