A Guide to Good Mental Health for Models

  • Melissa Keen

Modelling may seem like a glamorous and easy way to get rich and famous, but the reality is far from it. It’s a difficult and often gruelling job, with lots of industry negativity and criticism. Being part of such a competitive industry can have a negative impact on your mental health – as detailed by supermodels including ex-Victoria’s Secret model Bridgett Malcolm, who spoke up about her own negative experiences in high fashion. And she’s not the only one – more and more top models are starting to speak out about the negative and often hidden side of modelling. Mental health issues including eating disorders, anxiety, and even depression are being linked to modelling.

So how can you protect yourself and support your mental health as a model? Read on to find out. 

Focus On Your Physical Health

Exercising and looking after your body are one of the key things you can do to protect your mental health. Working out has been proven to boost your mood, plus it will give you confidence and strength. 

Working out and staying strong and healthy are even more important in an industry that is so invested in looks. Many models are told to “lose weight” or otherwise change, which can be damaging both physically and mentally. Often, model industry workers don’t care how a model lose weight – some have even been said to encourage taking drugs or eating less in a bid to shift pounds. This is obviously not healthy, nor is it a good thing to tell impressionable young people looking to get into the world of modelling. 

 If you want to get into modelling, you have to be sure you have a good sense of self-worth. You need to know you are strong enough to say no to those people who see you as nothing more than a mannequin – you are a human being, and you deserve to be treated with respect. Never allow someone to tell you to do something that could ultimately damage you. Speak to doctors, nutritionists, personal trainers and other experts so you fully understand what it takes to be healthy. 

Your Mental Health

For some reason, mental health has never been as important to people as our physical health. But recent conversations in the media are helping to change this. Your mental health is hugely important – just like a physical illness or injury, having poor mental health can lead to days off sick and negative thoughts. It can be just as difficult to live and deal with as a broken leg. And mental health issues can often lead to physical side effects like shortness of breath, dizzyness, shaking, an inability to sleep, muscle soreness, headaches and other physical ailments. 

Most of us know how to look after ourselves physically, but how do we look after our mental wellbeing? There’s a few things that can help:

– Ensuring you look after yourself physically by eating well, exercising and drinking plenty of water to ensure you are not deficient in any nutrient

– Getting enough sleep each night

– Paying attention to how you feel, and taking rest days when you need them rather than allowing yourself to burn out

– Working on your self-esteem and taking time out when you feel unable to cope

– Having a strong support network of friends and family

– Knowing when your emotions are normal, and when they aren’t. Sadness is normal, and we all feel it – but feelings of depression that don’t go away should be discussed with your doctor. 

– Try to have a schedule and a daily routine that you can stick to. Get up at a similar time, go to bed at a similar time etc. 

– Have some time away from social media occasionally. 

– Know some key resources that can help if you start to struggle with your mental health. MIND is a well-known charity for mental wellbeing, as is Samaritans. The NHS in the UK is also a great place to turn, as they can provide free therapy for those who need it. 

– Try meditation. Yoga is great for our mental health because it can help still the mind and allow us to retake control of our bodies. It’s also proven to help with anxiety. 

– Manage your workload efficiently, and be honest when you simply don’t have the capacity to do something.

– Set boundaries, and stick to them. 

– Always know that you can ask for help if you begin to struggle. 

Preventing Mental Health Issues

Prevention is often the answer, and mental health is no different. If you can learn to listen to your body and mind,and understand when you’re reaching a limit, you can often stop issues before they happen. This takes time and practice, but it’s worth working on. 

Do as much research as you can about the modelling industry. If you sign to a modelling agency, read about them. Read up about any brands you work with beforehand. Know what you’re getting yourself into so there are no unwelcome surprises. Avoid any brands or agencies that have a bad reputation. The more you know now, the better you can protect yourself. 

Always read documents like contracts thoroughly before signing anything. If you’re unsure, ask someone to help you – never allow yourself to feel pressured or coerced into signing something you’re unsure of. 

Remember – you can walk away any time. 

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Posted by Melissa Keen

Melissa's experience in the beauty and fashion world as a writer and blogger spans over five years. Her other interests include reading, yoga and music.