Mental Health - Seeking Help | Food for the Brain Foundation

Dealing with a mental and cognitive health problem on your own can be both overwhelming and isolating. That’s why it’s important to seek professional help from someone who can guide you and support you back to health. 

Poor mental wellbeing and/or cognitive health can be caused by a number of factors, which may be both environmental, as well as nutritional and biochemical. This is why we believe that the best way of approaching health is looking at it from a 360 degree perspective, addressing what we believe to be the key pillars in optimal mental wellbeing and cognitive health including nutritional therapy.

These are:

  • Nutrition
  • Psychological/emotional trauma
  • Lifestyle 
  • Possible genetic factors

Navigating these areas with the support of a professional can help you to address issues concerning different aspects of your mental wellbeing more effectively.  We have compiled a list of professional organisations that we believe may be beneficial, where you can seek personalised help from registered practitioners.

The Brain Bio Centre at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in Richmond, Surrey UK was established by Food for the Brain to provide a nutrition-based treatment for mental health problems. They offer consultations in person and on-line.

Registered Nutritional Therapists

Nutritional therapists are trained to address health concerns, including mental health issues, by identifying the underlying causes of symptoms, and correct these with the use of diet and nutritional supplements for mental health concerns. If you would like to consult with a registered nutrition professional, please follow the link to the official registration body, the British Association of Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT,) which can help you filter therapists that are in your local area and specialise in your field of concern: BANT – British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine. A similar profession and organisation does not exist in North America.

Naturopaths

Naturopathy is a distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine including dietetics, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, fasting, naturopathic manipulation, traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, exercise, lifestyle counselling, detoxification and chelation, environmental assessment and adjustment, spiritual healing, health promotion and disease prevention. To find a naturopath visit the General Council and Register of Naturopaths.

Functional Medicine Practitioners

Functional medicine determines how and why illness occurs and restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual. Nutritional therapy is a core part of functional medicine. Some docotors and orther practitioners train in this approach and become a functional medicine practitioner. To find a functional medicine practitioner worldwide visit the Institute for Functional Medicine.

Registered Dietitans

Registered dietitians have been trained in dietetics with degrees that are recognised by the BDA and HCPC registration bodies, and once qualified and registered can work with individuals in hospital settings. They are largely employed, in the UK, by the NHS, and seeing at dietitian will require a GP’s referral in many cases. There are also a growing number of dietitians who are working freelance and see individuals privately. Their initial training does not include the use of nutritional supplements for mental health problems however some go on to study this area so it is important to ascertain that this is an area of their expertise.

To check UK the register for dietitians, check out the HCPC website. Check your country’s register for dietitians.

Registered Nutritionists

Registered nutritionists have studied degrees that are either recognised by the Association for Nutrition (AfN), or been eligible to join the register due to demonstrating strict competencies via portfolio entry and evidence of years of appropriate experience. Many AfN registered nutritionists work in industry or education, but some also see clients privately. It is important to ascertain that the treatment of mental health issue withy nutrition and appropriate supplementation is an area of their expertise.To find a registered nutritionist who can work with you, check the UK voluntary register of nutritionists on the AfN website.

Urgent Help

If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis or an emergency, there are various services you can access for immediate support. These are unlikely, however, to provide any nutritional guidance.

Samaritans – confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline).

Charities and Organisations

In addition to Food For the Brain, there are lots of other charities and organisations supporting individuals with mental health conditions. 

Please see below for further information:

Men’s Health Forum – 24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email. 

Anxiety UK – for those suffering with an anxiety condition

Beat supports anyone affected by eating disorders. Helplines for adults and young people, online, peer and group support across the UK.

Depression UK – A UK self-help organisation that offers support to its members who suffer from depression or care for those who do.

Bipolar UK – for those living with manic depression or bipolar disorder

No Panic – for those suffering with phobias and/or obsessive compulsive disorders

Smart Recovery UK – offering face-to-face and online groups helping people to confront problems with alcohol and drug abuse. 

Alzheimer’s Society UK – charity offering support for those with Alzheimer’s, as well as their carers and family

Mencap – charity offering support for people with learning disabilities, as well as their carers and family. 

Family Action – provides practical, emotional and financial support to those who are experiencing poverty, disadvantage and social isolation across England

Relate – offer a range of services to help with couple and family relationships, including counselling and therapy.

Action for HappinessAction for Happiness is not-for-profit creating a movement of  helping people to take practical action drawing on the latest scientific research. 

Mind wide range of services relating to mental health including therapy 

services, self-help groups and alternative therapies.

For perinatal mental health support for both mothers and fathers, visit the website for PANDAS Foundation

For Birth Trauma and birth related PTSD support visit Birth Trauma Association UK

Accessing Psychotherapy

BACP – British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy – find a suitable registered therapist for your needs. 

IAPT – Improving Access to Psychological Therapies – NHS Psychological Therapies Service – offering recommended therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapies for common problems such as depression and anxiety on the NHS.