Australia’s Deakin University has launched a free course in nutritional psychiatry on social learning platform FutureLearn.com.
The course; ‘Food and Mood: Improving Mental Health Through Diet and Nutrition’, offers an approach to mental wellbeing, through a good diet. It has been developed by the University’s Food & Mood Centre, and is led by the head of translation & education at the centre Dr Tetyana Rocks and the director, Professor Felice Jacka, whose SMILES trial showed dietary changes could reduce symptoms of depression.
Poor diet and mental health are leading causes of death and illness worldwide. Despite the growing awareness around mental health and the drive to increase access to treatments, a global mental health crisis persists. Professor Jacka said: “Whatever we’re doing, it’s not working, we need new ways of preventing and treating mental health problems. Research recognises that diet quality has a direct association with mental disorders and we want to use this evidence to help people optimise their mental health and wellbeing.”
Dr Rocks added: “This online course will help arm participants with specific tools to make dietary changes for better mental wellbeing, whether that’s for themselves, their friends or family, or clients. Learners will examine the physiological ways daily diet can affect mental and brain health, as well as considering the role of the immune system and the gut microbiome plays. The course also includes an evidence-based exploration of popular topics including macro and micronutrients, dietary misconceptions and myths, personalised nutrition and the gut-brain axis.”
The course is aimed at healthcare practitioners working with people with mental and brain health issues or in roles related to diet, nutrition and mental and brain health education. However, it has also been designed to allow general consumers to learn and enjoy.