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Mental wellbeing while staying at home

Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important while staying at home because of coronavirus (COVID-19). You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also be low, worried or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you. It's important to remember that it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Remember, this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these feelings will pass. Staying at home may be difficult, but you are helping to protect yourself and others by doing it. The tips and advice here are things you can do now to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing and cope with how you may feel while staying at home. Make sure you get further support if you feel you need it. The government also has wider guidance on staying at home as a result of coronavirus. 1. Find out about your employment and benefits rights You may be worried about work and money while you have to stay home – these issues can have a big effect on your mental health. If you have not already, talk with your employer about working from home, and learn about your sick pay and benefits rights. Knowing the details about what the coronavirus outbreak means for you (England and Wales only) can reduce worry and help you feel more in control. GOV.UK: Coronavirus support 2. Plan practical things Work out how you can get any household supplies you need. You could try asking neighbours or family friends, or find a delivery service. Continue accessing treatment and support for any existing physical or mental health problems where possible. Let services know you are staying at home, and discuss how to continue receiving support. If you need regular medicine, you might be able to order repeat prescriptions by phone, or online via a website or app. Contact your GP and ask if they offer this. You can also ask your pharmacy about getting your medicine delivered, or ask someone else to collect it for you. If you support or care for others, either in your home or by visiting them regularly, think about who can help out while you are staying at home. Let your local authority (England, Scotland and Wales only) know if you provide care or support someone you do not live with. Carers UK has further advice on creating a contingency plan. Carers UK: Coronavirus 3. Stay connected with others Maintaining healthy relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family while you are all staying at home – by phone, messaging, video calls or social media – whether it's people you usually see often, or connecting with old friends. Lots of people are finding the current situation difficult, so staying in touch could help them too. 4. Talk about your worries It's normal to feel a bit worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember: it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust – and doing so may help them too. If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead. NHS-recommended helplines 5. Look after your body Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking or drugs, and try not to drink too much alcohol. You can leave your house, alone or with members of your household, for 1 form of exercise a day – like a walk, run or bike ride. But make you keep a safe 2-metre distance from others. Or you could try one of our easy 10-minute home workouts. Try a 10-minute home workout 6. Stay on top of difficult feelings Concern about the coronavirus outbreak is perfectly normal. However, some people may experience intense anxiety that can affect their day-to-day life. Try to focus on the things you can control, such as how you act, who you speak to and where you get information from. It's fine to acknowledge that some things are outside of your control, but if constant thoughts about the situation are making you feel anxious or overwhelmed, try some ideas to help manage your anxiety. Watch: Reframing unhelpful thoughts 7. Do not stay glued to the news Try to limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak, including on social media, and think about turning off breaking-news alerts on your phone. You could set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit yourself to checking a couple of times a day. Use trustworthy sources – such as GOV.UK or the NHS website – and fact-check information from the news, social media or other people. GOV.UK: Coronavirus response 8. Carry on doing things you enjoy If we are feeling worried, anxious, lonely or low, we may stop doing things we usually enjoy. Make an effort to focus on your favourite hobby if it is something you can still do at home. If not, picking something new to learn at home might help. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online, and people are coming up with inventive ways to do things, like hosting online pub quizzes and music concerts. Watch: Keep learning 9. Take time to relax This can help with difficult emotions and worries, and improve our wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help deal with feelings of anxiety. Watch: Mindful breathing 10. Think about your new daily routine Life is changing for a while and you are likely to see some disruption to your normal routine. Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines and set yourself goals. You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week. If you are working from home, try to get up and get ready in the same way as normal, keep to the same hours you would normally work and stick to the same sleeping schedule. You could set a new time for a daily home workout, and pick a regular time to clean, read, watch a TV programme or film, or cook. 11. Look after your sleep Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel, so it's important to get enough. Try to maintain your regular sleeping pattern and stick to good sleep practices. Watch: Sleep tips 12. Keep your mind active Read, write, play games, do crosswords, complete sudoku puzzles, finish jigsaws, or try drawing and painting. Whatever it is, find something that works for you. Further support and advice There are plenty of things you can do and places to get more help and support if you are struggling with your mental health. Our pages on stress, anxiety, sleep and low mood have lots more tips and specific advice. If you are a parent or caregiver for a child or young person, Young Minds has guidance on talking to your child about coronavirus. The NHS mental health and wellbeing advice pages also have a self-assessment, as well as audio guides and other tools you can use while staying at home. We also have guidance and information to help others if someone you know is struggling with their mental health. Remember, it is quite common to experience short-lived physical symptoms when you are low or anxious. Some of these, like feeling hot or short of breath, could be confused with symptoms of coronavirus. If this happens, try to distract yourself. When you feel less anxious, see if you still have the symptoms that worried you. If you are still concerned, visit the NHS website. If you do not live in England Additional country-specific coronavirus guidance is available for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

10 tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means that life is changing for all of us for a while. It may cause you to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored, lonely or frustrated. It's important to remember it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Remember, this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass. There are some simple things you can do to help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing during times of uncertainty. Doing so will help you think clearly, and make sure you are able to look after yourself and those you care about. Here are 10 ways you can help improve your mental health and wellbeing if you are worried or anxious about the coronavirus outbreak. For specific tips and advice while staying at home, read our advice on maintaining your mental wellbeing while staying at home. It is important to follow the latest official guidance on staying at home and away from others to keep everyone safe. 1. Stay connected with people Maintaining healthy relationships with people we trust is important for our mental wellbeing, so think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family while needing to stay at home. You could try phone calls, video calls or social media instead of meeting in person – whether it's with people you normally see often or connecting with old friends. 2. Talk about your worries It's normal to feel a bit worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember: it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust – and doing so may help them too. If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead. NHS-recommended helplines 3. Support and help others Helping someone else can benefit you as well as them, so try to be a little more understanding of other people's concerns, worries or behaviours at this time. Try to think of things you can do to help those around you. Is there a friend or family member nearby you could message? Are there any community groups you could join to support others locally? Remember, it is important to do this in line with official coronavirus guidance to keep everyone safe. Helping others 4. Feel prepared Working through the implications of staying at home should help you feel more prepared and less concerned. Think through a normal week: how will it be affected and what do you need to do to solve any problems? If you have not already, you might want to talk with your employer, understand your sick pay and benefits rights, and get hold of some essentials for while you are at home. You could also think about who you can get help from locally – as well as people you know, lots of local and community help groups are being set up. Try to remember this disruption should only be temporary. GOV.UK: Coronavirus support 5. Look after your body Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking or drugs, and try not to drink too much alcohol. You can leave your house, alone or with members of your household, for 1 form of exercise a day – like a walk, run or bike ride. But make you keep a safe 2-metre distance from others. Or you could try one of our easy 10-minute home workouts. Try a home workout 6. Stick to the facts Find a credible source you can trust – such as GOV.UK or the NHS website – and fact-check information you get from newsfeeds, social media or other people. You could also use the GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp. This automated chatbot covers the most common questions about coronavirus. Message the coronavirus chatbot to get started. Think about how possibly inaccurate information could affect others too. Try not to share information without fact-checking against credible sources. You might also want to consider limiting the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak, including on social media, and think about turning off breaking-news alerts on your phone. You could set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit yourself to a couple of checks a day. NHS information on coronavirus 7. Stay on top of difficult feelings Concern about the coronavirus outbreak is perfectly normal. However, some people may experience intense anxiety that can affect their daily life. Try to focus on the things you can control, such as your behaviour, who you speak to, and where and how often you get information. It's fine to acknowledge that some things are outside of your control, but if constant thoughts about coronavirus are making you feel anxious or overwhelmed, try some ideas to help manage your anxiety or listening to an audio guide. NHS audio guides 8. Do things you enjoy If we are feeling worried, anxious or low, we might stop doing things we usually enjoy. Focusing on your favourite hobby, relaxing indoors or connecting with others can help with anxious thoughts and feelings. If you cannot do the things you normally enjoy because you are staying at home, think about how you could adapt them, or try something new. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online, and people are coming up with inventive new ways to do things, like hosting online pub quizzes and music concerts. Watch: Keep learning 9. Focus on the present Focusing on the present, rather than worrying about the future, can help with difficult emotions and improve our wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help some people deal with feelings of anxiety, or you could try our mindful breathing video. Watch: Mindful breathing 10. Look after your sleep Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel mentally and physically, so it is important to get enough. Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep up good sleep hygiene practices – like avoiding screens before bed, cutting back on caffeine and creating a restful environment. See our sleep page for more advice. Tips to improve your sleep Further support and advice There are plenty of things you can do and places to get more help and support if you are struggling with your mental health. Our pages on stress, anxiety, sleep and low mood have lots more tips and specific advice. If you are a parent or caregiver for a child or young person, Young Minds has guidance on talking to your child about coronavirus. The NHS mental health and wellbeing advice pages also have a self-assessment, as well as audio guides and other tools you can use while staying at home. We also have guidance and information to help others if someone you know is struggling with their mental health. Remember, it is quite common to experience short-lived physical symptoms when you are low or anxious. Some of these, like feeling hot or short of breath, could be confused with symptoms of coronavirus. If this happens, try to distract yourself. When you feel less anxious, see if you still have the symptoms that worried you. If you are still concerned, visit the NHS website. If you do not live in England Additional country-specific coronavirus guidance is available for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Rising violence, drug use and mental health problems among young people in England mean society is in danger of “failing a generation”, children’s doctors have said. English teenagers are increasingly likely to be injured in youth violence and the UK is lagging behind other European countries on measures including infant mortality, according to UK-wide research into the state of child health by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. The numbers of children in poverty, under child protection plans and being “looked after” have increased since its 2017 report, and progress on mental health among five- to 15-year-olds has stalled or reversed. “It’s not a pretty sight,” said the president of the college, Prof Russell Viner. “On many vital measures we risk lagging behind other European countries. We’re in danger of failing a generation if we don’t turn this situation around. The government has made welcome commitments on childhood obesity and young people’s mental health but we need to see delivery in these and other areas.” Advertisement Separate figures from Childline revealed that in 2018-19 653 children under 11 contacted its freephone number with suicidal thoughts and feelings, an increase of 87% since 2015-16. Across all age groups it delivered 24,447 counselling sessions to young people overwhelmed by a sense of despair, an increase of a quarter over three years. Esther Rantzen, Childline’s founder, said that when she launched the charity in 1986 most calls related to pain caused by someone else, including abuse, bullying or neglect. “Over the last 10 years we have seen a rise in the number of children describing their feelings of such intense unhappiness that they tell Childline they want to end their own lives,” she said. “It is deeply disturbing that we have reached a point where, on average, 67 children a day are receiving help for suicidal thoughts and feelings.” Get Society Weekly: our newsletter for public service professionals Read more The royal college study claims to be the largest ever compilation of data on the health of babies, children and young people in the UK. It found that the health of children who live in deprived areas is largely worse than those in more prosperous places and that inequalities have widened since 2017. More children are undertaking unpaid care work, with the biggest increase in Scotland where the rate has almost doubled since 2017. The college said the slide in conditions was rarely seen in developed countries and it blamed deep cuts to local authority budgets that are used to finance public health initiatives and community services. The NSPCC said it was “scandalous that progress in children’s health is not improving and shameful that the most disadvantaged are seeing the biggest retreat”. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We want every child to have the best start in life, regardless of their background, and tackling health inequalities is a priority for the government. “Early intervention is key and we are taking urgent steps to improve child health. We have launched the most ambitious plan in the world to cut childhood obesity by half by 2030, we are transforming children’s mental health to treat to give 70,000 more children access to services by next year and we are improving maternity services.” Stabbings and injuries with sharp objects have risen in England among 15- to 19-year-olds since 2014, the study found. The likelihood of such an injury was unchanged in Wales and falling in Scotland and Northern Ireland. By contrast, the likelihood of a 17- to 19-year-old being harmed in a road traffic accident is falling across England, Wales and Scotland. The figures reflect the rise in serious knife crime across England, with 47,000 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument recorded in England and Wales in 2018-19, the highest number since 2011. The danger from knives is increasing only in England and there have been decreases in incidents in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The report includes some signs of hope: the treatment of chronic medical conditions including asthma, diabetes and epilepsy is improving. Children in England, Wales and Scotland have healthier teeth, and smoking and consumption of alcohol is falling among children in England and Scotland, while teen pregnancies are falling across all four home nations. However, on infant mortality (children under one) the UK is fifth from bottom among 27 European countries. Among its recommendations to tackle the problem, the college said every child should receive a minimum of five mandatory contacts from a health visitor, universal midwifery visiting services should be offered for new mothers and the government should require the fortification of flour with folic acid. “The harsh reality is that in terms of health and wellbeing, children born in the UK are often worse off than those born in other comparably wealthy countries,” said Dr Ronny Cheung, a clinical lead for the RCPCH and a co-author of the State of Child Heath 2020 report. “This is especially true if the child is from a less well-off background. Throughout the world, the number of babies dying in their first year has been steadily falling for decades, as incomes rise and mothers and children receive better healthcare. Yet UK infant mortality rates have stalled, and in England they actually got worse between 2016 and 2017. For a high-income nation such as ours, that should be a major wakeup call.” The college called for government investment to “minimise social risk factors, early identification and intervention in those at risk, and a coordinated approach across public and social services including health, policing, social care and youth services.” It said this approach had proven successful in Scotland, where youth violence in 20- to 24-year-olds has decreased following the introduction of a violence reduction unit in 2005. Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, shoes and outdoor

tigma and discrimination toward obese persons are pervasive and pose numerous consequences for their psychological and physical health. Despite decades of science documenting weight stigma, its public health implications are widely ignored. Instead, obese persons are blamed for their weight, with common perceptions that weight stigmatization is justifiable and may motivate individuals to adopt healthier behaviors. We examine evidence to address these assumptions and discuss their public health implications. On the basis of current findings, we propose that weight stigma is not a beneficial public health tool for reducing obesity. Rather, stigmatization of obese individuals threatens health, generates health disparities, and interferes with effective obesity intervention efforts. These findings highlight weight stigma as both a social justice issue and a priority for public health. Negative attitudes toward obese persons are pervasive in North American society. Numerous studies have documented harmful weight-based stereotypes that overweight and obese individuals are lazy, weak-willed, unsuccessful, unintelligent, lack self-discipline, have poor willpower, and are noncompliant with weight-loss treatment.1–3 These stereotypes give way to stigma, prejudice, and discrimination against obese persons in multiple domains of living, including the workplace, health care facilities, educational institutions, the mass media, and even in close interpersonal relationships.1–3 Perhaps because weight stigma remains a socially acceptable form of bias, negative attitudes and stereotypes toward obese persons have been frequently reported by employers, coworkers, teachers, physicians, nurses, medical students, dietitians, psychologists, peers, friends, family members,1–4 and even among children aged as young as 3 years.5 Recent estimates suggest that the prevalence of weight discrimination has increased by 66% over the past decade,6 and is now comparable to prevalence rates of racial discrimination in America.7 Despite several decades of literature documenting weight stigma as a compelling social problem,1,2,8,9 this form of stigma is rarely challenged in North American society and its public health implications have been primarily ignored. Instead, prevailing societal attributions place blame on obese individuals for their excess weight, with common perceptions that weight stigmatization is justifiable (and perhaps necessary) because obese individuals are personally responsible for their weight,10 and that stigma might even serve as a useful tool to motivate obese persons to adopt healthier lifestyle behaviors.11–13 We have examined existing evidence to address these assumptions about weight stigma and discuss their public health implications. Documentation of the stigma of obesity has been extensively reviewed elsewhere,1,2,4 thus, our aim was to highlight relevant evidence from this body of work to examine public health implications of weight stigma, an issue that has received little attention in the obesity field. We obtained articles cited in this paper through comprehensive literature searches in computerized medical and social science databases, including PubMed, PsycINFO, and SCOPUS. Search terms were limited to various keyword combinations pertaining specifically to body weight and stigma descriptors to identify studies examining the relationship between weight stigma and public health, and emotional and physical health consequences of obesity stigma. (For examples of descriptor search terms, please refer to Puhl and Heuer.2) We also conducted manual searches for specific authors and journals that have published relevant research on these topics. In addition, we retrieved references from a recent comprehensive systematic review of peer-reviewed research studies documenting bias and stigma toward obese individuals that we recently published.2 The vast majority (87%) of studies we included were published in the past decade, with the exception of several studies published earlier that are cited when relevant to the historical context of the discussion or to provide 7 examples of landmark studies. On the basis of the current evidence, we conclude that weight stigma is not a beneficial public health tool for reducing obesity or improving health. Rather, stigmatization of obese individuals poses serious risks to their psychological and physical health, generates health disparities, and interferes with implementation of effective obesity prevention efforts. This evidence highlights the importance of addressing weight stigma as both a social justice issue and a priority in public health interventions to address obesity. Go to: DISEASE STIGMA AND PUBLIC HEALTH In the field of public health, stigma is a known enemy. Throughout history, stigma has imposed suffering on groups vulnerable to disease and impaired efforts to thwart the progression of those diseases. Disease stigma occurs when groups are blamed for their illnesses because they are viewed as immoral, unclean, or lazy.14 For example, in 19th century America, Irish immigrants were commonly believed to be responsible for epidemic diseases because they were “filthy and unmindful of public hygiene.”14(p4) As large numbers of Irish-born immigrants died of cholera and other diseases, many viewed their deaths as acts of retribution upon the “sinful and spiritually unworthy.”14(p36) When African Americans were dying from tuberculosis at the beginning of the 20th century, rather than investing in prevention or treatment of tuberculosis, many cities’ authorities issued warnings to its White citizens against commingling with or hiring African Americans.15 Even the stigmatization of injection drug users and individuals with gonorrhea has been denounced as a barrier to testing and treatment.16,17 These examples have resulted in a broad understanding of the implications of stigma for public health. According to Herek et al., Historical examples abound of stigma interfering with collective responses to diseases ranging from cholera to syphilis. In all of these cases, the social construction of illness incorporated moral judgments about the circumstances in which it was contracted as well as preexisting hostility toward the groups perceived to be most affected by it.18(p538) In the case of HIV/AIDS, the detrimental role of stigma has become so clear that national and international health agendas explicitly identify stigma and discrimination as major barriers to effectively addressing the epidemic. As early as the mid-1980s, just a few years after the disease was initially identified, discrimination against those at risk for HIV/AIDS was identified as counterproductive,19 and early public health policies included protections for patients’ privacy and confidentiality.20 As it became more evident that stigma and discrimination were among the root causes of vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS adopted the Declaration of Commitment in 2001, which pledged signatory states to “develop strategies to combat stigma and social exclusion connected with the epidemic.”21(p9) Subsequently, stigma and discrimination were chosen as the theme for the 2002–2003 World AIDS Campaign.22 In 2007, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS issued the report, Reducing HIV Stigma and Discrimination: A Critical Part of National AIDS Programmes, which provides strategies for centralizing the reduction of stigma and discrimination within national responses to the disease. Recommendations from the report include providing funding and programming activities for multifaceted national approaches to the reduction of HIV stigma and discrimination.23 Thus, within current public health ideology there is clear recognition of the critical obstacles created by disease stigma. Bayer notes: In the closing decades of the 20th century, a broadly shared view took hold that the stigmatization of those who were already vulnerable provided the context within which diseases spread, exacerbating morbidity and mortality… . In this view, it was the responsibility of public health officials to counteract stigma if they were to fulfill their mission to protect the communal health.24(p252) In sharp contrast, the stigma of obesity has not been addressed as a legitimate concern that requires the attention of those working to combat obesity, and is rarely discussed in the context of public health.25,26 In fact, weight stigma has been suggested by some as a method for obesity control.11–13 The lack of attention to weight stigma has persisted despite nearly 5 decades of scientific research documenting weight stigma and its consequences for obese individuals.1,2 Its absence was noted in the 1960s when stigma research was first emerging. In 1968, Cahnman published the article entitled “The Stigma of Obesity,” in which he wrote: Obesity is hardly ever mentioned in the writings of sociologists, and not at all in the literature on social deviance. This omission is amazing… . Clearly, in our kind of society, with its stress on affluence and upward mobility, being overweight is considered to be detrimental to health, a blemish to appearance, and a social disgrace.27(p283) This omission remains almost 50 years later. Even as obesity rates have risen dramatically, weight stigma is rarely, if ever, afforded the same recognition or intervention as other disease stigmas. Although there is significant consensus that stigma undermines public health, this principle has not been applied to the obesity epidemic. Common societal assumptions about obesity, including the notion that obese individuals are to blame for their weight, contribute to the disregard of weight stigma and its impact on emotional and physical health. An examination of these assumptions in light of current scientific evidence reveals that obesity stigma creates significant barriers in efforts to address obesity and deserves recognition in the public health agenda. Go to: COUNTERING ASSUMPTIONS THAT PERPETUATE WEIGHT STIGMA Social constructions of body weight are ingrained in the way that our society perceives and reacts to obesity.10,28 According to Herek, the social meaning of disease involves assigning responsibility and blame, so that those afflicted with disease become regarded as either victims or perpetrators.18 Society regularly regards obese persons not as innocent victims, but as architects of their own ill health, personally responsible for their weight problems because of laziness and overeating.29–31 These common assumptions provide the foundation for weight stigma, a prejudice that is often dismissed as acceptable and necessary. Not only is weight stigma viewed as a beneficial incentive for weight loss, but it is also assumed that the condition of obesity is under personal control,10,28,32,33 implying that the social influence of weight stigma will be sufficient to produce change. Although these assumptions about obesity and weight stigma are prevalent in our national mindset, considerable scientific evidence has emerged to challenge them. To optimize obesity prevention and intervention efforts, these assumptions must be addressed within the sphere of public health, with recognition of the harmful impact of weight stigma on quality of life and the need to eliminate stigma from current and future public health approaches to the obesity epidemic. We present scientific evidence relevant to these societal assumptions. Weighty Misperceptions Societal attributions about the causes of obesity contribute significantly to expressions of weight stigma. Experimental research in psychology consistently demonstrates that obese persons are stigmatized because their weight is perceived to be caused by factors within personal control (e.g., overeating and lack of exercise).9,34–37 More than 2 decades ago Weiner et al. first assessed the relationship between perceptions of personal responsibility and stigmatizing conditions, and found that conditions rated low on personal responsibility (such as Alzheimer's disease) were rated high on liking and elicited pity and intentions to help from others.28 However, individuals with stigmatizing conditions rated high on personal responsibility (e.g., obesity and drug addiction) were disliked, evoked little pity and high anger, and received low ratings of helping tendencies.28 Research findings since that time have followed suit. In a study examining attitudes toward 66 different diseases and health conditions (including obesity), the attributed degree of personal responsibility for the disease predicted social distance and rejection by participants.38 Experimental research additionally shows that providing individuals with information emphasizing personal responsibility for obesity increases negative stereotypes toward obese persons, whereas information highlighting the complex etiology of obesity (such as biological and genetic contributors) improves attitudes and reduces stereotypes.39 The view that obesity is a matter of personal responsibility is the prevailing message in the media.29–31,40,41 News coverage of the personal causes and solutions to obesity significantly outnumber other societal attributions of responsibility.29 Entertainment media also communicate anti-fat messages and reinforce perceptions that body weight is within personal control.42–44 The current societal message is that both the cause and the solution for obesity reside within the individual. Thus, the pervasiveness of the “personal responsibility” message plays a key role in stigmatization, and serves to justify stigma as an acceptable societal response.45–47 However, this prevai

MENTAL HEALTH

In Stephen Beer's case, mental health resulted in years of addiction. Firstly to alcohol in his early 20s, and then food, resulting in Steve, 46, ending up morbidly obese. Steve, from Plymouth, demonstrated other classic symptoms including self harm, suicidal tendencies, attachment & relationship issues. He has had 6 marriages and found it very difficult to maintain meaningful relationships. Steve featured on Channel 5s "Too Fat To Work " after being convinced it would be a positive programme highlighting the problems associated with the public image of obesity. In fact, all it did was vilify him and he was denounced in the media as 'Britain's fattest scrounger'. The effect of this sent him on a downward spiral, culminating in an attempt to kill himself by jumping off a bridge. Steve was sectioned for 72 hours and received the help and support necessary. Still, upon return to his home & wife, Michelle, Steve continued to self harm and sink deeper & deeper into depression. He was unable to leave his home through fear of attacks, scared to answer his phone, was in a financial crisis and was estranged from family and friends. Life seemed pretty gloomy. Then in May 2016 Steve and Michelle met a new friend and upon discussion Steve realised he had an eating disorder and addiction and it was ok to talk about his mental health issues. Following an appearance on ITVS This Morning in September 2016, Steve broke down when discussing his mental health. The relief of admitting it publicly was liberating. Very soon he received a diagnosis of Borderline personality disorder and made the conscious decision to highlight his condition. Steve now is an advocate of child obesity awareness and men's mental illness , steve recently also was given a membership of anational obesity forum for his campaign work,in 2014 steve lost a friend to obesity ,his friend was so big that he was bed bound steve was trying to get him out ,when steve finaly got him help he died,,,even though steve went through depression and sucide steve has not given up about loseing weight..just recently steve s dad bob was told he had cancer .book comes out december

ME

Stephen Beer For many years Stephen Beer was afraid to go out of his front door; frightened to leave his home for fear of what people would say about his weight. He regularly faced physical and verbal abuse when he walked down the street, which left him feeling suicidal. Stephen says, "I am regularly mocked and abused because of my weight. From name calling to being spat on ...it is horrible and most people don't realise how much it hurts. Unless you've been through it yourself, people don't understand the impact of discrimination." Stephen has experienced a number of health issues over the years. His most recent trip to the hospital after suffering a heart attack left him feeling demoralised with the health service. He was left waiting for treatment because he was told he wouldn't fit in any of the beds and the hospital had to order to a suitable bed for him. He says, "Much of my experience with doctors and hospitals has left me feeling like some staff are against me. There is a stigma that because of my weight I'm no good. There aren’t chairs available that I can sit on in the doctor’s waiting room or the right sized beds available in the hospital. There can be little understanding of the issues that people with obesity regularly face." Stephen is determined not to give up. He is now an obesity campaigner, running a Facebook group to support other people with obesity and travel the countr