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Poor Eating Habits Amongst Mental Health Patients in Rehabilitation Units

Introduction and Background

The welfare of the patients in various rehabilitation centres has been a matter of contention for a long time. Here, the individuals face and have to put up with differential treatment that ranges from various limitations that are enacted. The measured liberty and choices that these individuals are granted exposes them to various physical, psychosocial, and mental disparities. The long-time effect is the development of denial, resistive, and the totality of other mechanisms that range from how they react to various situations, directions, and instructions. This happens in the entirety of all rehabilitation centres. Among this is the approach that they develop to eating and dietary options they have. The drug treatment, education to the patients and their families, and the psychological support and the associated effects can introduce various effects on the approach and the attention that the patients extend to their eating regimen. Regarding the effects and the extent of the problem, it is necessary to carry out an extensive review through the research projects carried out by various scholars and medical experts in this particular field. For this project, various academic and scholarly sites such as Google Scholar, PubMed, and Springer will be analysed to come up with the relevant innovation plan to boost and rectify the witnessed unhealthy eating habits among the inmates in the various rehabilitation centres. Studies have shown that there are different methods and ways of addressing poor eating habits but when it comes to the mental health patients, the disparities and the gaps are just too difficult to bridge. Thus, it is necessary to incept new approaches to handle the worsening situation in various mental health patients spread out within various health units. The various findings will be utilized to quantitatively and qualitatively document the various factions within the innovation plan that will objectively ensure that it imparts the expected effect. In concern to this, this innovation dissertation is aimed to critically analyse these factors and come up with an applicable innovation to address the poor eating habits among these individuals.

The Context and Problem Analysis

Globally, mental illnesses have been established to be associated with several negative effects. Here, the research, efforts, and the studies that have been extended to mental health have been severely lacking with poor understanding of the welfare and the needs of the patients cropping out in various practices that take place in their immediate societies and mental health centres that they frequent. To understand, group, or place conditions as being part of the mental health facet, the condition in question must be an illness of any range that has the ability to modify and compromise an individual’s emotions, thinking and reasoning ability, and the way that they relate with the general society and family members. The need to address the issue sand the welfare of the mental health patients is a potent issue especially in consideration to the current global statistics of mental health cases. Globally, 13% of the world’s population suffers from mental health and substance disorders. The current global events such as the economic and health issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic are only likely to increase the percentage of individuals suffering from the same. The admissions to various mental health facilities are also expected to rise over the period in the same ratio. It is surprising that one in every seven individuals suffer from mental health disorders. This means that the current global standing puts close to one billion individuals on this trajectory.

Overall, the hospitalization rate of these individuals stands at an accounted 6% globally as per the information released by various agencies and the WHO. However, the current events are expected to introduce a 20% annual surge in this numbers. In these individuals, it is essential to note that various fluctuations in their mental status sets them along a discourse of dietary choices that require urgent and keen medical, psychological, and expert attention and care. In special concern, most of the mental health patients admitted in these facilities exhibit ranging symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is a prerogative to the resulting negative attributions and attentions that they accentuate to their eating approaches (Tetyana et al., 2021, p15). Mental illnesses are basically tied to a range of emotional, financial, and psychosocial impacts to the family members of the victims. The commitment is prominently lacking in some areas with the developing countries accounting for the largest portion of negligence. Here, the facilities and the medical centres that deal with mental health cases are not effectively stocked in terms of personnel, workforce and work experience, and resources to effectively attend to the patients. This therefore exposes the patients to many detrimental aspects among them being the total negligence of their eating and dietary needs. Stigma and the negative associations to mental health patients are some of the leading factors that limit the care and the personnel involvement with the mental health patients, exposing them to potentially severe and serious issues regarding their health. For this purpose, mental health and the affairs that surround the patients such as dietary needs have been granted limited attention because of the non-contagious nature of the condition. This factors surrounding mental health perception and understanding make it difficult for the family members, associates, and the individuals themselves to seek medical care.

Understanding Mental Health Problems in the United Kingdom

The global statistics are basically an average of the situation of mental health. However, the situation does not have wide variations and establishments when it comes to the United Kingdom. Here, as compared to one in every seven individuals, there is an incidence of 25% prevalence. This means that one in every four individuals in the U.K is at constant risk of falling into the trap with the current age brackets indicating that even the children and considerably younger individuals are indicted (Blom et al., 2021, p15). Besides, one in every six individuals have admitted to having the common mental health problems. The United Kingdom also boasts one of the largest number of medically proven mental health issues prisoners. This number currently stands at close to 100, 000 individuals with close to 90% of the individuals suffering from various mental health illnesses.

Despite this figures, how many individuals actually seek medical attention from the various mental health centres in the United Kingdom? Currently, one in every 8 of the affected victims are seeking help from the units with psychiatric medication being the leading form of treatment that is offered to the individuals. Various approaches and analyses have been made into the approach of the NHS to the welfare of the patients in various rehabilitation units. The approaches made in residential rehabilitation units are meant to effectively support and cater for the recovery and well-being of the patients as they undergo rehabilitation services. Here, the provisions in most mental health rehabilitation centres are crafted in accordance to offering maximum assistance through dual diagnosis and substance use recovery. The services are offered through intensive therapeutic and recovery support within the residential capacities. Several studies and researches that have been carried on in the aim of validating the effectiveness of the rehabilitation centres have established several challenges in this centres (Davison et al., 2021, p16). This range from the structural, resource, and work-related issues. For instance, most mental health rehabilitation centres across the United Kingdom have cited patient aggression, violence, lack of support at the workplace, and exhaustion as the most common problems that they experience in the average workplace situation. However, the patients’ unpredictability in behaviour has severally cropped up as one of the most challenging aspects of their work. In this specific understanding, it has become increasingly difficult for the experts to effectively combat the mental illness cases. One of the outstanding issues incepted by the patient unpredictability has been established to be the severe and adverse effects that this proponent has on the eating habits of the individuals. Thus, the rehabilitation centres have been continuously clouded by the inability to maintain healthy eating habits among these individuals.

Problem Analysis

The establishment of unhealthy eating habits alongside mental problem that has been correlated and intertwined for ages. In mild mental problems such as anxiety, individuals are more likely to develop unhealthy eating habits. More often than not, the patients in this facilities develop these problems as a result of the side effects of the treatment rationale that they are subjected to or the effects of their mental illnesses. Here, it is common that some mental health issues compromise and curtail the patients from eating, a factor that is directly associated with several treatment effects withdrawal being one of them (Tetyana et al., 2021, p29). Various medical research done in the rehabilitation centres to document for the unhealthy eating habits have come up with a series of issues that can be directly attributed to the mental issues that the individuals are suffering from. However, exhibiting the symptoms also varies across the different mental health issues and the severity of each is tied to the treatment stage, personal attributes, and kind of mental issue among many other factors.

Most scholars have identified a number of factors and a range of behaviours that can be quantitatively decided as being among the range of unhealthy eating habits in the United Kingdom. Mental conditions affects the normative judgement and decision making criteria in this individuals. One of the factors that has been closely associated with this is the effect that the twisted mental perspectives offer on the attractiveness of food and appetite. Most patients who have anxiety as one of the characteristics of their mental destabilization experience a low drive towards food. Therefore, it is a commonplace occurrence that these individuals will exhibit a reduced appetite. Additionally, stress and depression cause significant levels of distress that negatively affects the hunger levels in this individuals. Several nutritional studies have been incepted to explain why the individuals experience this fluctuations in their dietary demands (Baskin et al., 2021, p36). However, the most relevant explanation can be related to the emotional and psychological changes that characterize these mental illnesses. The individuals exhibit a range of behaviours in cases of losing appetite. This includes throwing away food (sometimes secretly), denying feeling hungry, vomiting immediately after eating (sometimes it is self-induced), and extending a dip in the concentration to eating. Through this, most individuals and rising cases of malnourishment and weight loss have been consistently encountered across the rehabilitation homes in the United Kingdom.

Some scholars have also established that some mental health individuals suffer from increased appetite in the rehabilitation centres (Baskin et al., 2021, p5). A simple explanation for the disparities and divides experienced in similar situations and treatment is explained by the differences in the mental issues. Additionally, personal and genetic differences offer a valid reason for the individuals to gain appetite. This, however not expressive as the former, has also been characterized and categorized under the range of mental issues that trigger unhealthy eating habits among the individuals. It is essential to note that the extremes in feeding habits suffered by different patients is a factor of how these individuals treat the issue. For instance, various research studies done across the U.K have established that these has been in direct relation to the current inflated cases of a range of metabolic disorders such as excess fat around the waist, blood pressure, and high blood sugar.

Additionally, the mental health cases in the rehabilitation centres and the associated eating habits that the patients exhibit have been linked to the increased cases of premature mortality that is experienced in the statistics of mental health patients. Most scholars have established that the life expectancy of the patients and individuals with mental illnesses is significantly lower than for the normal mental health individuals. Aside from the other causes of mortality, dietary choices and approaches that these individuals are exposed to makes it easier for them to have a dip in their health and well-being. It is vital to acknowledge the importance that a proper diet holds for better lives and optimal living conditions for even the normal individuals. Being in a position to have no control over one’s mental capacity to choose healthy eating habits offers a potent source for a deprived quality of life as experienced by the various patients in U.K rehabilitation centres (Blom et al., 2021, p14). In this case, the overweight and the malnourished patients share the same fate. In malnourishment, death can occur directly as a result of lack of enough energy and nutrients to fire the body. However, individuals who gain unhealthy weight in the rehabilitation centres are more likely to increase the mortality are numbers by suffering from secondary associations and ailments such as cardiovascular diseases and other overweight associated medical conditions.

The important role played by diet in the general outcomes of the rehabilitation processes is cited as one of the reasons why some mental illnesses are not well dealt with or give way to an array of other conditions. In this case, it has been established that some conditions such personal disorders are directly tied to the resulting emotional deficits in feeding approaches (Pengpid et al., 2018, p25). Here, it has become relevant that the individuals’ conditions are more likely to accentuate to further severe conditions. In this case, specific relationships drawn between various mental illnesses such as alexithymia have been tied to several eating anomalies in the individuals. However, these studies have also identified the eating disorders among the individuals as a multifaceted aspect involving the biological, environmental, and psychological issues.


The responsibility of ensuring that the patients in the various mental health stations adopt and incept healthy eating habits rests with the medical experts in the respective outlets. Spurring the right eating approaches and ensuring that the patients abide by them is a daunting task that requires a great deal of cohesive and collaboration from the various stakeholders (Robinson et al., 2021, p7). Thus, several approaches have been made in the pat to try and incept the right eating habits in the individuals. However, this research project aims at identifying the impact of the reward system in the inception and maintenance of proper eating habits among the patients in various rehabilitation centres. Here, it has been long established that setting targets that the individuals are supposed to cross in terms of the food amount, type, and various other approaches can be tied with rewarding the individuals.

Basically, the reward system works in a way that borrows heavily from the incentive theory. Through this theory, it is attainable to channel the actions of proper eating habits of the patients to gaining specific rewards (Willmer et al., 2021, p2). The incentives offered in terms of presents, freedoms, recognitions, and many other ways can be an effective way in getting the patients to engage in healthy eating habits. Additionally, this approach will be an effective way of putting an end to the poor eating habits that the individuals exhibit in the various rehabilitation centres.

Project Aims

This project is aimed at identifying, establishing, and implementing various rewards and incentives to trigger healthy eating habits among the patients in various mental health rehabilitation centres. Additionally, the prospect of the incentive system in stopping and alleviating various poor eating habits will be analysed.

Project Objectives and Expected Outcomes

OBJECTIVE 1: To promote healthy eating habits to the majority of mental health patients.

OUTCOME 1: A majority of the mental health patients will be able to integrate proper eating habits.

OBJECTIVE 2: To extend the basics of the incentive-based approach to various centres to deal with poor eating habits.

OUTCOME 2: Achieve a fully equipped and trained workforce to effectively use the approach.


Baskin, R., Galligan, R. and Meyer, D., 2021. Disordered eating from pregnancy to the postpartum period: The role of psychosocial and mental health factors. Appetite156, p.104862.

Blom, V., Lönn, A., Ekblom, B., Kallings, L.V., Väisänen, D., Hemmingsson, E., Andersson, G., Wallin, P., Stenling, A., Ekblom, Ö. and Lindwall, M., 2021. Lifestyle habits and mental health in light of the two COVID-19 pandemic waves in Sweden, 2020. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health18(6), p.3313.

Davison, K.M. and Gondara, L., 2021. A Comparison of Mental Health, Food Insecurity, and Diet Quality Indicators between Foreign-Born Immigrants of Canada and Native-Born Canadians. Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition16(1), pp.109-132.

Dimov, S., Mundy, L.K., Bayer, J.K., Jacka, F.N., Canterford, L. and Patton, G.C., 2021. Diet quality and mental health problems in late childhood. Nutritional neuroscience24(1), pp.62-70.

Pengpid, S. and Peltzer, K., 2018. Risk of disordered eating attitudes and its relation to mental health among university students in ASEAN. Eating and Weight Disorders-Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity23(3), pp.349-355.

Robinson, L., Zhang, Z., Jia, T., Bobou, M., Roach, A., Campbell, I., Irish, M., Quinlan, E.B., Tay, N., Barker, E.D. and Banaschewski, T., 2020. Association of genetic and phenotypic assessments with onset of disordered eating behaviors and comorbid mental health problems among adolescents. JAMA network open3(12), pp.e2026874-e2026874.

Tetyana, A.L.H.M.S., Ruusunen a–c, R.A., Felice, W.M.A.O.N. and Jackaa, N., 2021. Diet and Mental Health.

Willmer, M., Westerberg Jacobson, J. and Lindberg, M., 2021. An exploratory analysis of work engagement among women with and without disordered eating. BMC Women’s Health21(1), pp.1-6.


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