A LOCAL charity has warned of the “vicious cycle” that can lead to mental health problems when people obsess over their appearance.

Ayr Action for Mental Health are asking people to appreciate who they are for Mental Health Awareness Week 2019.

The charity were out in force at Ayr Central shopping centre over the weekend spreading body-positive vibes along with a team of stylists and beauty professionals.

Their ‘Body Positive Zone’ was set up in the middle of the shopping centre as they encouraged shoppers to learn how to love themselves in order to improve the quality of their lives.

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are just two of the serious conditions that are connected how someone feels about their appearance.

But the charity is concerned that too many people become obsessed about looking good that they lose out on spending time with friends, or they lose sight of who they are.

Graham Wight, manager at Ayr Action for Mental Health told the Ayr Advertiser: “Mental health is something that is just a broad range.

“We have worked with people who have eating disorders, or those people who will become obsessed with their appearance.”

“There are some people who would rather buy themselves a new outfit than buy some proper food in for themselves, because there is pressure from society to do so.

“It can be a vicious cycle. It begins to chip away at people’s health and wellbeing as they put too much stress on looking good.

“People want to look their best in the gym and look their best on the dance floor, but some people can become obsessed with that.

Despite the pressure that people carry on their shoulders, Graham believes that a lot of progress has been made.

He added: “For a long time we have been given a false image by society. But things are starting to improve.

“Models are no longer just a size 8, they are now becoming more diverse and reflecting back on the audience that they influence.”

“Our message is that it’s important to look after our mental health and wellbeing which in turn helps us to improve the quality of our lives”

“We have to keep talking about our mental health as that helps us regain the balance and control of our life, this is important as we all want to live life to the full.”