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May 29, 2019

Mental health support may be beneficial to food allergy sufferers

According to a survey of experts

Mental Health Allergies
mental healths support food allergies Nik Shuliahin/Unsplash

It can be daunting navigating a newly diagnosed food allergy.

While there’s a sizable chunk of the population that believes they have a food allergy — and actually don’t — there’s another significant group filled with individuals who have serious food allergies, and deadly ones at that.

For this group — who may feel anxiety or overwhelmed in eating situations —  a survey of U.S. Centers of Excellence in Allergy Treatment suggests mental health interventions may be beneficial.

Reuters reports that the survey asked representatives from 28 U.S. Food Allergy Research and Education Clinical Network Centers of Excellence — which includes a network of hospitals (including Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) and clinics — about the presence and availability of mental health care professionals in their practice. They also were asked about their patients’ perception of mental health and food allergies.

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Of those 28 sites, the survey found that only five had an on-staff mental health professional in their division; half had a mental health professional in the institution to refer patients to; and four sites had students receiving mental health training for allergy concerns, per Reuters.

Across the board, the representatives believe that mental health support would be beneficial to those suffering from allergies — most notably, such services would be helpful at the time of diagnosis and before food challenges occur, Reuters reports.

View the full report from Reuters here

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