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Bell Aliant contributes $100,000 to help focus on better body image

By Laura Barron | June 18, 2013

Memorial University today recognized a $100,000 contribution from Bell Aliant to Memorial’s Counselling Centre in support of a new project focusing on issues surrounding body image in students.

The Feeling Good About You project will help university students identify body image concerns and will develop strategies for resisting social pressures surrounding body image ideals.

Research has shown that social pressures, and individuals’ perceptions of their ability to conform to body image ideals, can contribute to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and eating disorders. Through this project, Memorial’s Counselling Centre aims to expand current efforts and to develop new strategies for addressing body image concerns in students. Feeling Good About You will entail a series of activities, including a needs assessment, a public awareness campaign and intervention programs.

“There is enormous pressure on young people to look a certain way – to conform to the feminine thin ideal or the masculine muscular ideal,” said Dr. Michele Neary, assistant professor, Counselling Centre, Memorial University, and the Feeling Good About You project lead. “We are pleased to have the support of Bell Aliant in the development of strategies to help our students resist these ideals and sustain healthier outcomes. Our message to students is that we want them to feel good about themselves.”

“The Feeling Good About You project is a perfect fit for our mental health initiative,” said Geoff Davis, vice-president, sales, Bell Aliant. “It will provide students with the tools, knowledge and support they need to recognize body image issues and will help them work toward increased confidence, self-esteem and positive mental health.”

The Feeling Good About You project is in its initial phase and will soon undertake a needs assessment, with a public awareness campaign and group counselling sessions to begin this fall.