Leeds singer and mental health campaigner Miranda Arieh is encouraging young people across Leeds to have compassion and acceptance for their bodies as she backs Mental Health Awareness Week (May 13-19).
Miranda, who had a long battle with eating disorders in her teens and struggled with her body image in her early 20s, wants young people to appreciate their bodies.
The 35-year-old started running away from home at the age of 14 and struggled with her mental health and depression. She started self-harming, overdosing, starving herself and binge eating. Miranda ended up in foster care aand was later sectioned.
She said: “Having more compassion, acceptance and appreciating your body is not always easy especially when you’re struggling with your body image or Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Looking back I struggled with my recovery but as time went on, I learned to manage my body image in a different way.
“What really helped me was undertaking mindfulness and talking to myself, as though how I would talk to a friend. It can be really difficult to speak to yourself in this manner if you are used to being unkind to yourself, but it can really help.
“However, if you struggle with this, reach out for help from someone that you can trust, don’t ever feel ashamed to ask for help. It’s good to challenge the voice in your head rather than worrying what others think.”
Mental Health Awareness Week is hosted by Mental Health Foundation. The theme for this year is body image.
Dr Jane Mischenko, commissioning lead for children and maternity services at NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you’re worried about how you look or worried what others think of you, do talk to someone and visit the MindMate website.
“It has information on self-image and where you can go for further information. It’s important that you care for and accept yourself.”
MindMate is a dedicated mental health and emotional wellbeing website in Leeds for young people, parents and professionals who work with young people.
Go to www.mindmate.org.uk for more information.