Finding the right ingredients: improving mental health and wellbeing through food-centred activities


  • Prof John Frank

    University of Edinburgh

Project summary

Nutrition and social interaction can play an important role in prevention and recovery from mild to moderate mental health problems, and can address the obesity-related comorbidities caused by mental health medication. Food is a universal preoccupation, so community-based services are well placed to engage the widest possible range of people. However, there is a glaring lack of evidence-based, food-centred interventions for mental health patients at the community level.

This project will do early-phase research to develop an intervention for people who access services through community-based mental health organisations. A novel intervention-development method will be used to create a food-centred intervention, grounded in theory and the experiences of the target population, who will work with us to test and refine logic models, linking activities to outcomes. This study will inform subsequent pilot phases that will test recruitment and data collection procedures, and generate data to determine sample size. The aim is a realist randomised controlled trial to assess the mechanisms of action, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a community-based food-centred intervention for mental health and wellbeing.