Nutrition's positive impact on mental health
We are celebrating the expertise of our dietitians here at St Andrew’s, as part of Dietitians' Week 2017.
Our dietetic team provide nutritional guidance to patients with a variety of mental health needs, as well as offering advice to carers and members of staff. The experienced team understand nutrition and food, and the impact it has on both physical and mental health.
As part of their role, St Andrew’s dietitians help people to make healthier choices by answering questions on food and health, and by sharing clear messages about nutrition. They also work closely with our chefs on recipes, ingredients and menu choices.
To celebrate the week, we asked Sam Bailey, Lead Specialist Dietitian who works with our adolescent patients, to explain more about her role. If you would like to find out more about a career in dietetics at St Andrew’s, please visit our careers page.
What does a dietitian do?
“Registered dietitians are qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. Uniquely, dietitians use the most up-to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.”
What do you like about your job?
“There are many strands to my role at St Andrew's: clinical assessments, group sessions with patients for health promotion, advising on individual therapeutic diets, nutrition education, working with catering teams on menus, ensuring compliance with clinical guidelines and food standards to name just some. The diversity is one of the things I like about my job. I also link in with other dietitians working in similar settings across the UK to share experience and resources.”
What’s the main purpose of your work with our young people?
It’s to ensure our young people have access to food that supports their physical and mental health and that they have a healthy relationship with food.
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing patients on their recovery journey. I do get moaned at a lot about food issues – and I do understand why these need to be addressed. Food is such a big part of our lives and something we should enjoy whilst keeping fit and well. It’s my job to support and guide others to get that balance by understanding the science behind nutrition and health.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career in dietetics?
If you have a keen interest in food, nutrition and human biology, then go for it! Dietitians work in the NHS, private practice, industry, sport, media, research, education, public relations, publishing, government and non-government organisations. These areas of work are very different so you can specialise using the skills you have and work in the environments in which you thrive.”