CONCERNS about body image are a risk factor for mental health problems, a top doctor has said.

Dr Rakesh Sharma, clinical lead at Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire CCGs, was speaking as new figures show more than a third of UK adults suffer from mental health problems and have felt anxious or depressed because of concerns about their body image.

Body image and its impact on mental health is a key theme of Mental Health Awareness Week (May 13 to May 19).

Dr Sharma said: “Most people have concerns about body image and how they look, this is relatively common and is not a mental health problem in and of itself.

“However, it can be a risk factor for mental health problems.

“Teenagers and young people are now experiencing more pressure to look good and have issues with their body image than 30 years ago.

“The main reason for this is social media/advertising and how celebrities are portrayed.”

Last year, Love Island star Gabby Allen spoke out about her own body confidence issues and the online abuse she has received.

He added: “It is very important for parents and loved ones to look out for the signs and talk to their child about things which are of a concern to them and speak to a professional for help and advice sooner rather than later.”