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Food Insecurity and Mental Health

Food Insecurity: The inability to access a sufficient quantity or variety of food because of financial constraints.

Not knowing if you have enough food to provide for yourself and your family or enough money to replenish the pantries is very stressful.

It is often taken for granted just to have three meals a day. In 2017-2018 it was reported that one in eight households in Canada was food insecure. That is around 4.4 million people, in Canada alone.

Food insecurity can be caused by many reasons such as poverty, unemployment, low income, lack of affordable housing, and chronic health conditions. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are too many households across Canada that feel this way. With the loss of jobs and income in many families, even getting the staple foods has been a struggle.

Food is one of the aspects humans need to survive. Everybody should have access to enough healthy foods to fuel their body and keep them alive. When your ability to survive is put in jeopardy it can take a toll on the mental and physical aspects of a person. There are many links between food insecurity and mental health including higher rates of depression, stress and anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and poor self-perceived mental health. Food insecurity causes a 257% higher risk of anxiety and a 253% higher risk of depression.

When there is a constant worry about your next meal, it is very easy to develop into and worsen other mental health conditions. This is a serious issue across Canada and the world. More must be done to research and prevent food insecurity and the mental health results it causes.

If you are struggling with mental health problems yourself, talk to a doctor or a hotline to get the help you need and deserve.

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