When we think about mental health treatment we often associate it with psychologists, psychiatrists and medication. Likewise we often think of mindfulness activities when we think of preventing mental health conditions. What we now know is that lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise can be used to improve symptoms of poor mental health.

There is significant evidence that when our mental health suffers our physical health does too. People with a serious mental health condition live on average 10-32 years less than the rest of the population due to largely preventable and treatable conditions like diabetes*.

This may because as our mental health worsens, we are more likely to eat foods that are highly processed and less likely to eat our fruit and vegetables. At the same time, you may move your body less and engage in more smoking, alcohol and substance use.

A healthy dietary pattern has been shown to prevent the onset of common mental illness, particularly depression.

To help you reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and a mental health condition, Scott Teasdale a Mental Health Dietitian has offered some insights and tips.

How are diet and ill health connected?

When our mental health suffers, does our physical health suffer too?

Are diet and depression linked?

Are diet and anxiety linked?

What happens to your diet when you take some medications?

Diet and exercise can help close the gap in health so that those with a mental health condition can live longer and more healthily

Why do we gain weight after we are physically or mentally injured?

Why do you have cravings and what does eating have to do with your emotions?

Can planning what you will eat improve your mental and physical health?

What is a good diet?

How can a dietitian help your mental and physical health?

* Physical health ignored in people with mental illness