Barriers and Pathways for Food Insecure Individuals to Access Mental Health Resources
This study aimed to explore the connection between food insecurity and mental health and the barriers and pathways to mental health support for individuals experiencing food insecurity. This qualitative study included interviews with team members at key social organizations in Calgary, Alberta who work directly with food insecure clients. Barriers to mental health support for food insecure individuals were shown to be lack of access to a primary care doctor, racial/cultural barriers, and a prioritization of meeting basic needs over mental health concerns. The common themes uncovered from interviews, as well as literature, identified key recommendations to improve the pathways of food insecure people to improving their mental health. These key recommendations included improvement of access to basic needs such as a food policy, creating free community spaces, a universal basic income and a strengthening of social assistance. Other recommendations included incentivizing better collaboration across social organizations, enabling emergency room and primary care doctors to assist with the unique needs of these clients, and expanding the Canada Health Act to include mental health treatments for more meaningful support.
Singh, J. (2022) Barriers and Pathways for Food Insecure Individuals to Access Mental Health Resources (Unpublished master's project). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.