Good nutrition, or the lack of it, can have a significant effect on our mental, as well as physical health. Eating a balanced diet, with a mix of fruits and vegetables, grains and protein can improve and safeguard our mood and energy as well as our bodies. Research has shown, for example, that deficiencies in Vitamin B12 as well as the Omega 3 fatty acids often found in fish, can be a contributing factor in some people for the development and onset of depression.
In Fresno, we also know that it is difficult for many people to get enough to eat– and in sufficient variety. Poverty and lack of access to fresh produce make balanced nutrition difficult for many. FIRM’s Community Gardens, supported by funding from Fresno County’s Department of Behavioral Health, are one response to this reality. At the February Lao Mental Health Workshop held earlier this week, participants also took part in the Fresno County Hunger Count. Results from this annual community survey help show the size of the hunger problem in our area, and the need for food. Information given by our participants also helps FIRM know more about the needs of our client families and how we can better provide support to help strengthen bodies, minds and spirits.