Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust (SHSC) which manages the city’s adult mental health and learning disabilities services, is acting on research which warns that people with mental health issues experience higher rates of physical health problems.
Studies show that people who neglect their diet owing to mental health symptoms are more likely to become obese and suffer from associated health issues such as heart disease, breathing problems, type two diabetes and stroke.
Helen Payne, director of facilities management at SHSC, said: “As a caring organisation we are committed to providing the best possible care for all our service users.
“Meeting the food and drink needs of all service users in the trust is an NHS and a trust priority and is a very important part of the care we offer.
“We want to promote a culture where nutrition is seen as an essential part of treatment.”
A screening system to look for signs of malnutrition has been introduced by the trust for patients who are admitted to hospital.
A “tailored eating plan” is then offered to help them.
In addition, a dietician is assessing menus offered within the trust and identifying ways to improve the nutritional values of meals.
Some staff at SHSC have also been trained to offer practical cooking advice on how to adapt cooking techniques in order to eat more healthily at home.
Ms Payne added: “The Ttust provides specialist mental health and learning disability services which mean that some people are service users for a long time, even life.
“So we have introduced this plan, as we believe it is important to provide nutritious meals with plenty of choice to anyone within our care.”