Food for Thought Blog

A Balanced Diet and Your Mental Health

May 6th, 2019Awareness

There might be more to the old adage, you are what you eat.

We know food plays an important role in our lives and heavily influences not only our physical health and well-being, but it may also be connected to our mental health. Simply put, eating well and feeling well go hand in hand.

Today marks the start of Mental Health Week in Canada – an initiative that raises awareness and encourages important conversations about mental health. We want to take this opportunity to explore how poor mental health may lead to food insecurity and vice versa.

The need for food assistance is complicated and different for everyone. There are a number of reasons someone may need to access hunger relief support, such as: sudden large expense such as a car breakdown, job loss and a change in mental health, just to name a few.

Food Assistance and Mental Health

Not having enough food in the fridge can make it difficult for people to manage mental health issues. How would you feel if you were forced to make impossible choices, like paying rent or buying groceries?

Every day in our community, people are forced to make difficult decisions.

In Waterloo Region, 34,408 men, women and children receive food assistance and access to other vital supports, through the Community Food Assistance Network – a system of 100+ community programs and agency partners – led by The Food Bank of Waterloo Region and Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank.

According to Proof  – a University of Toronto based research team investigating household food insecurity in Canada – food insecurity is strongly related to mental health. Canadians living in food insecure households are at a greater risk of poor mental health than those living in food secure households.

Research shows that 1 in 8 households in Ontario is food insecure, and adults living in food insecure households account for more than 1 in 3 hospitalizations due to mental health problems.

How can you help?

If you or someone you know is in need of mental health support, visit: mentalhealthweek.ca for valuable resources. If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, click here.

There are some great and easy ways you can help the 1 in 20 households in Waterloo Region struggling to put food on the table.

  • Continue the conversation! Share an interesting fact you’ve learned about hunger in Waterloo Region with your friends, family or on social media (@FoodBankWatReg #FeedWR).
  • Donate Food! Visit your local grocery store to purchase items from our Most Needed Items List.
  • Donate Funds! Financial donations allow us the flexibility to purchase the food most urgently needed and fill any gaps in inventory. You can donate:
    • Online: thefoodbank.ca/donate
    • Telephone: 519.743.5576 x224
    • Mail/In-Person: 50 Alpine Court, Kitchener, ON, N2E2M7