St Andrew’s therapist attends Parliament

Liz Ritchie, a Self-Care Body Image Therapist at St Andrew’s Healthcare, recently attended Parliament to present to young people on the subject of body image.

Having previously submitted a report on the subject to the Parliamentary Youth Select Committee (YSC), Liz was invited to attend Westminster on 14 July to share her evidence with 11 committee members.

The YSC’s inquiry into body image is investigating the impact it has on the wellbeing of children and young people. The committee invited experts from a variety of industries - including bloggers, mental health professionals, government officials and academics - to share their views over two days.

Just like UK Parliament Select Committees, the YSC will now produce a report which will be sent to the Government for comment.

“I felt very privileged to do this as it is a subject very close to my heart, and one which I have consistently addressed,” Liz explained. “I continue to profile the correlation between body image and mental health within my work at St Andrew’s.

“I was initially struck by the formality of the session and the dedication, professionalism and passion of the YSC - which comprised of 16 to 18-year-old students from all parts of the UK who were present to ensure a full examination on the topic of body image.”

Liz was part of a three-person panel, which included Rosamund McNeil, Head of Education and Equality Policy, National Union of Teachers and Natasha Devon MBE, Founder, Self-Esteem Team.

The questions asked were specific to each panel member and covered a variety of topics, including the links between poor body image and mental health issues, how body image is being taught in schools, what impact funding and education cuts will have on this topic, and the impact of social media on young peoples’ body image and mental health. The panel also commented on the impact and scale of ‘sexting’.

Liz continued: “The purpose of these sessions is for the YSC to make recommendations to Parliament on the topics discussed in the oral evidence sessions. I look forward to seeing the outcome of the report on body image and the recommendations put forward.”