Title

Needs Assessment Survey Analyzes Food Insecurity in Relation to Mental Health

Student Classification

Senior

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Kelsie Bernot

Department

Biology (pre-med)

Document Type

Poster

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Abstract

According to the World Health Organization, one and four people will be impacted by a mental health disorder which is roughly 450 million people worldwide. The lack of food in homes has been proven to be one of the possible triggers on one’s mental health. The World Summit of 1996 defined food security as “all people at all times having access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.” Students from North Carolina A&T State University and Guilford College went into local low-income communities/food insecure areas to assess health disparities and needs of the community via convenience sampling at community events. The survey consisted of multiple-questions to measure food insecurity and a checklist of mental health disorders to observe if anyone in the participants’ households suffered from it. Out of 68 participants, 43% reported that someone in their household suffered from anxiety and/ or depression. Food insecurity was also assessed, and 55% of participants stated that they had run out of money to purchase food in the past year. Interestingly, of the people who had mental health issues in their household, 50% also had food insecurity; whereas only 3.7% of households with mental health issues had no food insecurity issues. Using SPSS, chi-square test demonstrated that this was a statistically significant relationship (p<0.001). Now that there is an awareness of this issue, implementing ways families can get access to good nutritious foods can reduce food insecurity. We don’t know if there is a causal relationship with mental health; however increasing access to mental health resources may also help.

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