Dr Isabel McMullen is a Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist at King’s, and she’s worked here for 5 years.
Consultant Liaison Psychiatrists are medical doctors, specialising in mental health who work with people who have both physical and mental health issues.
She looks after patients who have pre-existing mental health conditions who are admitted to hospital for a physical health issue and patients with physical health issues who develop a mental health issue as a result.
Dr McMullen says: “Our mental health is really important. If your mental health is good, you tend to have better physical health too.
“It’s important to maintain good mental health. Make time to focus on your wellbeing. One way is to find something you enjoy, whether that’s exercising, seeing friends, watching a film or cooking, and don’t feeling guilty about putting time aside to do it.”
The focus of this years’ Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘body image’. ‘Body image’ is a term that can be used to describe how we think and feel about our bodies. Our thoughts and feelings about our bodies can impact us throughout our lives, affecting the way we feel about ourselves and our mental health and wellbeing.
Having body image concerns is a relatively common experience and is not a mental health problem in itself; however, it can be a risk factor for mental health problems. Research has found that higher body dissatisfaction is associated with a poorer quality of life, psychological distress and the risk of unhealthy eating behaviours and eating disorders.
Conversely, body satisfaction and appreciation has been linked to better overall wellbeing and fewer unhealthy dieting behaviours. Though feeling unsatisfied with our bodies and appearance is often more common among young women, body image concerns are relevant from childhood through to later life and affect both women and men.
Dr McMullen said: “It’s important to find balance and try not to become preoccupied with body image. Always remember that what you see on social media isn’t necessarily reality.
"Try and create a network of people around you – friends, family, colleagues – who you can turn to and ask for support, and know that there is always help available.”