When we’re sitting down to eat a meal, most of us don’t think about how food could affect our mental health. But more research is showing the connection between what we eat and depression, and new research has validated this.
Using a first-of-its-kind ‘Risk Index for Depression’ to assess how different behaviours affect the risk of depression, the research found that our diet is the most important contributor to mental health, followed by other factors like sleep and exercise.
The research, predominantly done through IMPACT SRC at Deakin University in collaboration with Swinburne University, confirms that depression is not caused by one simple factor or event, but rather various factors which, if identified for each young person, could help clinicians recognise the early signs of depression. In other words, the Risk Index for Depression is about prevention.
Considering depression is a global health concern — with one in six people to experience depression at some point in their life which will affect their wellbeing, personal relationships, work life and productivity — the Risk Index for Depression shows promise as a tool to add (or remove) direct or indirect risks.
To understand more about the risk determinants for depression, HuffPost Australia spoke to the Risk Index for Depression (RID) developer and Swinburne lecturer in the Department of Statistics, Data Science and Epidemiology, Joanna Dipnall.