: Received: 7 February 2021 / Approved: 8 February 2021 / Online: 8 February 2021 (10:14:04 CET)
: Received: 12 February 2021 / Approved: 16 February 2021 / Online: 16 February 2021 (13:36:58 CET)
Nutritional interventions have been shown to have beneficial effects on psychiatric disorders. However, studies regarding nutritional literacy in mental health professionals (MHP) are scarce. We aimed to assess the degree of training and literacy for nutritional approaches in MHPs. A 52-country, cross-sectional survey was conducted. We approached colleagues and professional societies whom we asked to disseminate the survey. Data were collected regarding general nutritional knowledge, nutritional education, learning opportunities, and the tendency to recommend food supplements or prescribe specific diets in clinical practice. 1056 subjects participated in the study, including 354 psychiatrists, 511 psychologists, 44 psychotherapists, and 147 in-training MHPs. All participants estimated the quality of diet of individuals with mental disorders to be significantly worse compared to the general population (p<0.001). The majority of the psychiatrists (74.24%) and psychologists (66.3%) reported having no training in nutrition. Nevertheless, many of them used nutritional approaches, with 58.6% recommending supplements and 43.8% prescribing special diets. Only 0.8% of participants rated their education regarding nutrition as ‘very good’. Almost all (92.9%) stated they would like to expand their knowledge regarding ‘Nutritional Psychiatry’. There is an urgent need to integrate nutritional education into MHP training, ideally in collaboration with nutritional experts aiming to achieve state-of-the-art care.
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