Prevalence of food insecurity in people living with severe mental illness

Miss Elise Tripodi1, Miss Rebecca Jarman1

1Keeping the Body in Mind (KBIM) Program, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, Australia

Background
People who experience food insecurity (FI) have lower quality diets and are at higher risk of poor mental health, lower quality of life and chronic disease. In Australia, the prevalence of FI has been reported between 5-13%. Given the socioeconomic and health inequalities faced by people living with severe mental illness (SMI), especially those that require Clozapine or a long acting injectable (LAI) medication, it is likely they are more at risk of FI.

Aim
1) measure the prevalence and severity of FI in people living with SMI in the community, prescribed clozapine and LAI medications, 2) explore relationships between FI status, and sociodemographic, medical and physical health factors.

Methods
188 people living with SMI in the community and prescribed clozapine and LAI antipsychotic medication completed the 18-item Household Food and Insecurity Access Scale in an interview led by student dietitians, between July 2018 – November 2018. Sociodemographic and health information was obtained from electronic medical records.

Results
31 % (n = 58) reported experiencing FI, with 7% (n = 13) mildly FI, 13% (n = 23) moderately FI and 12% (n = 22) severely FI. People who identified as smokers were 3.1 times more likely to be FI.

Conclusion
People living with SMI prescribed clozapine and LAI medications, in particular those who identify as smokers, have a high prevalence and severity of FI than the general population. Mental health services play an important role in screening and providing appropriate supports to those at risk of FI.


Biography:

Elise Tripodi is an APD working in Sydney. Elise commenced her career working as a mental health dietitian with the Keeping the Body in Mind Program, a community program supporting the physical health of consumers living with a severe mental illness. Elise currently works as the first dietitian employed by Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network, working across correctional facilities in NSW and the Forensic Hospital in Sydney. Elise is passionate about improving the profile of dietitians working in mental health and is the convenor of the Dietitians Australia Mental Health Interest Group.

Rebecca Jarman has been working for as a Dietitian for 10 years in areas of Mental Health and Aboriginal Health. Rebecca is currently working in South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) as a Mental Health Dietitian in the Keeping the Body in Mind (KBIM) program, a community program supporting the physical health of consumers living with a severe mental illness. Rebecca is passionate about improving the health of vulnerable populations including those living with a severe mental illness.

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