Support at School

We know around 2% of the students in your school, college or university are likely to have this condition. There are ways that you can be supported through your education.

What can schools/colleges do to help?

We know that BDD is as common as other mental health difficulties. In fact, based on the available research, we know around 2% of the students in your school, college or university are likely to have this disorder.

It is difficult to manage BDD alone. Having supportive people on your side will make it easier for you to manage in education.

There are lots of ways you can get help:

  • Tell someone they trust
  • Make a GP appointment (taking this information leaflet with them to their appointment)
  • If the GP agrees they may be struggling with BDD or appearance anxiety they will refer the young person to Child and Adolescent Services (CAMHS) (called Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Services (EWMHS) in some geographical areas.

We have more advice on taking the first steps to getting help.

The good news is that there are effective treatments for BDD

Here are some things that your school could implement to help you:

  • You may need a time-out in lessons if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
  • You may need extra time to complete work in lesson or homework tasks.
  • Teachers could avoid all comments on appearance – even positive statements and don’t discuss the perceived defect.
  • Teachers could be made aware that you may be tired due to the appearance worries and lengthy grooming rituals.
  • Special adjustments may need to be made to ensure you are not disadvantaged because of their difficulties e.g. extra time in exams or taking them in a smaller room
  • Making teachers aware that students with BDD may experience difficulties with peer relationships and suffer low self-esteem, so they keep a lookout for any teasing and bullying.
  • It may be helpful to a trusted teacher or have someone share with them your likely triggers and to help identify stressful aspects of school. Exploring this together can help you and the teacher come up with a plan to manage this (e.g. how can you discretely signal if you need to leave the class? How can the impact on learning and academic performance be minimised)
  • If the you are having treatment, ask your family and therapist to share with the school specific provisions they will need in place to manage your symptoms at school.
  • Share these leaflets with your parents and school:

Young people’s experiences of body dysmorphic disorder in education settings: a grounded theory. Research study by Dr Nicole Schnackenberg

The Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation. Charity no. 1153753.