Many studies have found that food insecurity is associated with increased rates of depression and anxiety. Arguably, mental health suffers when one of our most basic needs, nutritious food, is not met. That’s why the seven Florida governing entities that oversee Florida’s behavioral health safety net system have partnered with Farm Share, Florida’s largest independent food bank, to address both issues.
Under this partnership, a card will be included with each bag of food distributed at Farm Share events. This card contains important information on how to contact the governing entity to connect with mental health and substance use disorder providers who accept clients without health insurance. Behavioral health services include treatment for mental health problems and substance use disorders, as well as “wraparound services” such as transportation, childcare and employment.
Florida’s seven local administrative entities work with a network of more than 300 behavioral health providers serving more than 300,000 of Florida’s most vulnerable residents, including children, pregnant women, veterans, and chronically homeless people. I’m here.
We recognize that food insecurity and poor mental health are interconnected. That is why we raise awareness about behavioral health services at food distribution events. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has long recognized that access to food is a social determinant of health. NAMI notes that food insecurity can lead to mental health problems, and conversely, untreated mental health problems can impair the ability to find and keep a job and access food. I admit it.
People in distress who cannot afford food may not know that behavioral health services are available regardless of their ability to pay.
The goal of both organizations is to help the people of Florida get back on their feet. By providing information on how to access nutritious foods and treatments that people may need for anxiety, depression, or substance use disorders, We can help you tackle multiple challenges.
These are difficult times and we are here to help.
Natalie Kelly, CEO of Florida Association of Managing Entities, and Stephen Shelley, CEO of Farm Share.