Food insecurity in adults with severe mental illness living in Northern England: Peer research interview findings

Emma Giles, Fatemeh Eskandari, Grant McGeechan, Stephanie Scott, Amelia Lake, Scott Teasdale, David Ekers, Alex Augustine, Nikita LeSavuage, Chris Lynch, Hannah Moore, Jo Smith

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Abstract

Food insecurity means that a person does not have access to sufficient nutritious
food for normal growth and health. Food insecurity can lead to many health
problems such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other long term health
conditions. People living with a severe mental illness are more likely to experience
food insecurity than people without mental illness. Peer-led
in-depth
interviews
were conducted with adults with severe mental illness from Northern England,
during which their experiences of food insecurity and strategies to tackle food
insecurity were discussed. Interviews took place between March and December
2022, with interviews being transcribed and analysed using deductive and
inductive thematic analysis. Thirteen interviews were conducted, finding that food
insecurity in adults with severe mental illness was often a long-standing
issue.
Unemployment, the cost-of-
living
crisis and fuel poverty impacted on experiences
of food insecurity. Difficulties accessing food banks such as transport, stigma,
and the limited selection of available food was also discussed. Strategies to tackle
food insecurity centred on making food banks more accessible and improving the
quality of available food. Future research should aim to eradicate food insecurity
for adults with severe mental illness, as limited research and action focuses on
this population group over and above ‘mental illness’ or ‘poor mental health’.
Removing barriers to accessing food such as lack of transport, and providing food
which is of adequate nutritional quality, should be prioritised, as well as tackling
the stigma and accessibility issues surrounding food banks use.
Original languageEnglish
Article number00
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2023

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