22-year-old Jim graduated from UWE Bristol last year with a degree in drama and now works for an events company in Swindon.
Jim said: “I’m fine now but when I was
in the sixth form at school I developed body dysmorphia. I’d always
been a little on the chubby side when I was younger – I suppose it
was puppy fat. But as I got older I felt pressure to look a certain
way, to be fit and have a six pack.”
Jim didn’t confide his feelings in anyone. He began going to the gym every day and eating just one meal a day to try and get his body to look the way he felt it needed to look. “I don’t remember ever having a single conversation with my friends about mental health issues; it’s just not something boys tend to talk about,” says Jim.
Jim has now overcome his body dysmorphia and feels happier with
himself. He has a girlfriend and a good job. But he wants to remove
the stigma of talking about mental health, particularly amongst
He added: “I was lucky in that I got through my issues by myself eventually and didn’t feel the need to get help with them. But there is a lot of pressure for men as well as women to look a certain way now, and it’s not healthy. I really want to raise awareness about this and encourage people to talk about these pressures and how they’re feeling. If you feel you can’t talk to family or friends, there are lots of different options to get help and support at university.”