Dietitians' Review: Mental Health via Nutrition

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Dietitians' Review: Mental Health via Nutrition

Postby jimmylegs » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:03 am

Promoting Mental Health through Healthy Eating and Nutritional Care ... -2012.aspx

Key Findings
Mental health conditions are associated with long lasting disability and significant mortality through suicide, medical illness, and accidental death. It is estimated that mental health conditions cost the Canadian economy $51 billion dollars annually. By 2030, mental health issues are expected to be the leading cause of disability in Canada. Current treatments for mental health conditions (e.g., pharmaceuticals) only provide partial benefit. Other approaches, such as targeted nutrition interventions that can maintain the structure and function of neurons and brain centres and therapeutic approaches to modify disordered eating patterns, can effectively augment medical approaches to mental health care.
Nutritional interventions, as part of collaborative and integrative programs aimed at mental health promotion, contribute to positive health outcomes and are cost-effective. Comprehensive mental health promotion interventions that include nutrition education and food skills training components, with a focus on pregnant moms, infants, children, and adolescents, can lead to reductions in neural tube defects, low birth weight, and premature delivery, and an positively affect cognitive development, behaviour, and academic performance. Positive parenting programs that include healthy lifestyle interventions have led to a return on investment in excess of 6% based on reduced use of special education, social, mental health, and criminal justice services. Simulations of healthy worksite programs aimed at mental health promotion have shown returns on investment of 9 to 1. Many nutrition initiatives that Registered Dietitians help facilitate support mental health by enhancing social inclusion, self-reliance, self-determination, food security, healthy body image, and reducing health and social inequities.
Interventions provided by Registered Dietitians to individuals with mental health conditions and their care providers can lead to reduced nutrition-related side effects of psychiatric medications, improved cognition, better self-management of concurrent and comorbid conditions, and improved overall occupational, social, and psychological functioning. Targeted nutritional interventions exist for mental health symptoms such as depression, mania, psychosis, delirium, dementia, disordered eating, sleep problems, and substance use. In addition, therapeutic approaches such as cognitive behaviour therapy, mindful based eating awareness, dialectical behaviour therapy, motivational interviewing, cognitive adaptive training, and applied behavioural analysis used by Registered Dietitians in mental health practice show evidence that food intakes and eating behaviours can be positively modified and lead to enhanced well-being.
Other issues affecting mental health and dietetics practice include food insecurity, use of natural health products, and debate about food addictions. Mental health consumers may have diverse needs related to gender, life stage, culture, history of trauma, and co-occuring conditions. Registered Dietitians can draw on knowledge and skills such as cultural competence, trauma-informed care, and harm reduction, to foster mental well-being, reduce disparities, and strengthen response to diverse communities.

Optimal nutrition supports the mental health of Canadians, and could reduce health and social costs.
To better integrate nutritional and mental health services, the following recommendations are made:
1. Advocate for Nutrition and Mental Health in Practice and Policy
Advocacy is needed for nutrition interventions targeted for mental health consumers. Strategies include food security initiatives, healthy-eating education, food skills training (e.g., preparing, cooking, growing food), promoting nutrition literacy (e.g., develop easy-to-understand nutrition labelling of foods), and development of nutrition and mental health educational materials (e.g., diet to prevent mental health problems, how to manage nutritional side effects of psychiatric medications, nutrition guidelines for specific conditions).
Dietitian services are important to all levels of mental health practice: promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation. Diet therapy should be recognized as a cornerstone of mental health interventions in clinical practice guidelines and standards of care. Adequate funding is needed for nutrition services in mental health care, with monitoring and evaluation for effectiveness and efficiency.
Continued advocacy for nutrition services is needed at broader levels of public health and policy.
Government and non-government agencies are recognizing the links between diet and mental health.Public health messaging and social marketing initiatives need to highlight the importance of healthy eating and mental health. Initiatives targeted at building healthy food environments (e.g., sodium reduction, banning trans fats, food guidelines for schools) are important mechanisms to support mental
health in the general population. Food policy can be evaluated for impact, effectiveness, and appropriateness of key food regulatory initiatives. Standardized measurement of the cost of healthy eating should continue to be conducted regionally to monitor trends
and advocate for food security and poverty reduction...
take control of your own health
pursue optimal self care at least as actively as a diagnosis
ask for referrals to preventive health care specialists eg dietitians
don't let suboptimal self care muddy any underlying diagnostic picture!
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