World Mental Health Day 2019

How visible difference can affect mental health

World Mental Health Day 10 October 2019

By Pippa Donovan, Director of Services and Innovation at Changing Faces

Today is World Mental Health Day, an international day to raise awareness of mental health issues and advocate against social stigma, but we know mental health problems could affect anyone with a visible difference, any day of the year. This is why it’s vitally important that people who are struggling, because of how they look, are able to access the support they need.

How visible difference can affect mental health

There can be profound mental health consequences for people living with a visible difference, and also for their family members. Findings from Changing Faces’ My Visible Difference report suggest that 1 in 3 people who identify as having a visible difference feel depressed, sad or anxious, which in turn affects their personal, social and working lives.

We are increasingly living in an appearance obsessed society. Every day we are bombarded with messages, media and advertising that promote a narrow view of how we should look. The value placed on appearance is becoming greater, and more disproportionate to other aspects of self. If you are living with a mark, scar or condition that means you have a visible difference, the pressure can be intense.

It is vital that people with a visible difference get the support and advice they need – more often than not, traditional mental health services just don’t have the right kind of support available.  At Changing Faces we offer practical, emotional and social support , ranging from a support and information phone line, to an online peer community and 1-2-1 support by email, phone or in person with trained wellbeing practitioners

How to contact the Changing Faces’ Advice & Support service

Our advice & support team are here from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday and the service is open to adults, children, parents and families. Please see our Advice & Support pages for full details on this and the other wellbeing services we offer.


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