Major mental health conference

Last week in London more than 950 delegates came together for the workplace mental health event of the year. The ‘This Can Happen’ conference includes CEOs and people with high public profiles such as Mel B and Nadiya Hussein discussing why they’ve made mental health a top priority.

For the second year, organisers asked the BDA Work Ready team to work with the venue on food choices which support attendees to maintain their energy and mood throughout the day.

There is growing evidence to suggest that good nutrition is just as important for mental health as it is for physical health and that a number of conditions, including depression, will be influenced by dietary factors.

Alongside this, we know that people with mental health conditions have, on average, worse physical health outcomes than the population as a whole, which is why the BDA Board of Directors signed the ‘Charter for Equal Health’ in September. This affirms our commitment to ensure good physical health for those with a diagnosis of mental health illness.

People with poor mental health are more likely to have poor diets, for a variety of complex reasons. Some mental health conditions are directly linked to diet and nutrition, such as eating disorders, whilst for others, medications or symptoms of their illness may contribute to poor nutritional health.

Although a one day menu wouldn’t be able to have a long term impact on mental wellbeing, we do know that our mood is influenced by a steady supply of nutrients to the brain – and anyone who has attended a conference knows how demanding all the inspiration and conversation on offer can be!

Throughout the day, at ‘This Can Happen’ delegates were offered choices which gave a steady supply of useful nutrients to influence mood. These include:

  • Wholegrain and lower Glycaemic Index carbohydrates
  • Protein and vegetables which are good fuels for the brain
  • Plenty of healthy drinks to keep them well hydrated

To add even more balance to their day, we suggested delegates try and get outside for a few minutes too to take a short stroll.

The fantastic caterers at the venue (QEII conference centre) used our advice to tailor their regular meeting menus into delicious foods without creating a culture of over-indulgence. Choices were calorie controlled and offered positive nutrition through lower fat options and more savoury choices.

Event Producer Sheny Lim said “Our conference programme showcases the best ideas in workplace mental health. We’re all about making change happen and so it’s great for us to also model healthy food behaviours too. The BDA Work Ready team really understand how to balance the organiser’s goal to create a positive experience for people with all food tastes, alongside the latest dietary insights for mental and physical health.”

If you would like our dietitians to inspire the catering for your next meeting or event please email us

For information on our popular Eat Well Feel Well workshop and good mood food tools for your workplace please click here:

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