Cosmetic Clinics Plan To Assess Your Mental Health Before You Get Treatment
Screening for mental health issues could help those with Body Dysmorphic Disorder among other conditions.
Cosmetic clinics in the UK are to begin assessing patients’ suitability for some treatments -- to protect those who want to change their appearance due to mental health problems.
Trade body the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) has announced that its member clinics across the country will introduce new practices to protect those patients considered psychologically vulnerable after one of the UK's top public health doctors claimed that the cosmetic industry was doing too little to help those with body image issues.
The move follows UK pharmacist Superdrug announcing in January of this year that it was improving its screening for mental health problems, and planned to start using a questionnaire intended to spot vulnerable patients which is endorsed by the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation.
People with Body Dysmorphic Disorder may frequently examine their appearance in a mirror, constantly compare their appearance with that of others and avoid social situations or photos. The flaw may be minor or imagined, but the person may spend hours a day trying to fix it -- and the person may try many cosmetic procedures or exercise to excess.
Lysn psychologist Noosha Anzab told 10 daily psychological evaluations could definitely be beneficial. "Extreme measures are being taken when it comes to looks, with individuals who are suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder and the likes becoming ever so preoccupied with their appearance, going to extremes to use some treatments as a seemingly cheap and easy fix without considering the underlying psychological issues."
However, she cautioned that there may be some argument against it because "most people believe it is their personal right to be able to alter their looks, which is true, except for those cases when individuals aren’t in a healthy frame of mind."
"It’s so important to consider just how vital
informed consent is, and how critical it is
to ensure the recipient of these
enhancements has the capacity to fully
understand what they’re doing."
"In short, we shouldn’t allow a person suffering from mental illness to go to great lengths in changing how they appear because there is a risk that their decision making or ability to think logically and rationally is often clouded."
Staff in the specific UK clinics will be trained to understand the issues around appearance and how to spot signs that a would-be customer may have a mental health problem before treatment. Anyone who appears vulnerable could then be advised to seek help from NHS mental health services.
In a comment to 10 daily, The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons said that it supports any measures that protect patient safety and well-being.
"The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons is acutely aware of, and concerned by, potential mental health issues such as body dysmorphia, affecting some people seeking cosmetic procedures. Specialist Plastic Surgeons are trained to recognise signs of mental health problems and refer patients to counselling if appropriate. Cosmetic procedures such as fillers are conducted by a range of practitioners, not all of whom have specialist surgical training and unfortunately, in Australia, some clinics aggressively market cosmetic procedures to vulnerable people and exploit their insecurities to make money."
Tom Madders from UK charity YoungMinds, told the Guardian: “Young people who are struggling with their mental health often feel pressure around body image, so it’s good news that staff at cosmetic firms will receive training to spot the signs of poor mental health.
“But we also need wider action across society to help young people feel positive about who they are and how they look. The fashion, music and advertising industries should all be doing more to promote authentic and diverse body images.”
Feature image: Getty