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Tower Hamlets all talk on #BeBodyKind

WE’RE IN THE middle of Mental Health Awareness Week – and Tower Hamlets Council and Tower Hamlets NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have joined forces to promote positive attitudes to body images.

The Mental Health Foundation has estimated that nearly a third of all adults have, at some stage, felt severe stress due to concerns about their appearance. The CCG urges anyone who is spending a great deal of time worrying about the appearance of a part of their body to speak to their GP. They can also obtain advice from the NHS Talking Therapies service: phone 020-8475 8080 to book an appointment.

Executive Mayor John Biggs has said that good emotional health and wellbeing is important for everyone. He says that the Council provides a number of services for young people and families to address their mental and emotional health.

The Council has an established track record of supporting schools to help pupils achieve mental and emotional wellbeing and has now been chosen by the Government to be a trailblazer site. This will apparently fund Mental Health Support Teams and reduce the waiting times for children to see professionals from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. The funding could provide for an extra 1,000 children in Tower Hamlets being able to receive treatment.

So far, so good – but it is not clear exactly what the Council is doing about Mental Health Awareness Week. It has announced that residents can go to the Mental Health Foundation’s website for information – but that is a national website, not one specific to Tower Hamlets.

The Council has also asked people to post a picture of themselves, taken at a time when they felt comfortable about their body, on social media and use the hashtag #BeBodyKind – which seems a strange way to run their own week, amounting to outsourcing their own week back to the people.

Dissatisfaction with their own body image or stress over perceived failure to conform can be very distressing. But Tower Hamlets residents also become stressed over the cost of living, difficulty finding work or training, the cost of transport, poor housing and poor management by so-called social landlords – and a host of other material factors. These issues, and the stress they cause, is something about which Tower Hamlets Council has, this week, been silent.

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