Bridging the Divide: Nutrition and Mental Health Research Priorities in Canada

A project led by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario, Dietitians of Canada, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University to disseminate findings from a national consultation on research priorities and to guide collaborative research and knowledge exchange activities across the nutrition and mental health sectors.

Setting the Research Agenda

In 2014 the project partners conducted a national consultation to identify and prioritize research topics in nutrition and mental health.

Moving the Agenda Forward

In phase two (2016-2017), the project team is engaging with nutrition and mental health stakeholders to facilitate cross-sector research collaborations.

Get Involved

Find out how you can participate in Bridging the Divide

Research Priorities

The following four research priorities were identified through our national stakeholder consultation

Programs and Services

Identify nutrition program/service needs, gaps, and barriers for people living with mental health conditions with respect to healthy diet, food access and skills development.

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Service Provider Roles

Explore roles and responsibilities of mental health service providers, including dietitians, in the effective provision of nutrition care to clients living with mental health conditions in the community.

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Social Determinants

Investigate the impact of social determinants (housing, income, education, employment, etc.) on diet, food security and mental health.

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Knowledge Translation

Explore methods of knowledge translation and exchange for nutrition and community mental health research.

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Stakeholder Views

Comments from our national consultation
This is something I struggle with in my own life. I live on a low income and find it a challenge to eat healthy food. When I am doing the worst with my illness, it's the hardest to feed myself well, but probably when I need it the most.

As a service provider serving marginalized populations, the link is essential for those trying to achieve mental wellness. Food insecurity and poverty overlap with many of those that we serve, and research in multiple areas sets the stage for overall improvement in health care outcomes, program design, and policy change for people with lived experience.

I am a researcher who is interested in determinants of mental illness. Nutrition is particularly interesting because it is a modifiable risk factor.