food insecurity

There is a direct connection between food insecurity and mental health. People facing food insecurity are at a 257% higher risk of anxiety and a 253% higher risk of depression than the general population, according to the Centers for Disease Control. While food insecurity includes the lack of food, it also includes reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Mental Health Impacts of Food Insecurity

In addition to increased depression and anxiety, food insecurity can lead to the worsening of one’s feeling of well-being. For instance, people facing food insecurity experience increased stress and a sense of abandonment.

Profound Effects on Children

While food insecurity is a problem wherever it is present, it has a particularly profound effect on children. Pregnant women were more likely to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or substance abuse disorder. Children who experience food insecurity are two times more likely to exhibit symptoms of hyperactivity/inattention during their elementary grades. Teens facing food insecurity suffered more depression and suicidal ideations.

Help is Available

Help is available if you are facing food insecurity. Call 877-947-2211 to find a program near you, or visit the 211 Wisconsin website. They can tell you how to apply for state and federal assistance. Additionally, they can help you locate food pantries in your area. St. Vincent DePaul operates the largest food pantry in Dane County. Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin operates 43 food pantries in Milwaukee. Most public schools offer a summer feeding program to all people under 18.

If you or your family are struggling with mental health challenges, we are here to help. Contact us today to set up an appointment. Our team will be glad to help you become the best you that you can be.



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