Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Kari Fletcher, Ph.D., LICSW


Social Work


Studies suggest that persons diagnosed with serious and persistent mental illness (SPMI) die prematurely compared to the rest of the general U.S. population. Previous research implies that this is due to disproportionate rates of chronic medical conditions prevalent in the SPMI population. Contributing factors to the mortality of those with SPMI include poor diet, lifestyle, and mental illness. This research aimed to discover how providers incorporate dietary practices into their work with persons diagnosed with SPMI. To further explore this topic this researcher analyzed data from qualitative semistructured, face-to-face interviews with licensed professionals, medical doctors, and certified practitioners (n = 8) in the mental health field. The findings of this research supported previous studies present in the literature review and ideas of best practice techniques slowly developed. This research was categorized using three major themes: 1) cause and effect; 2) prevalent medical conditions; and 3) best practice. The findings of this study provide valuable information about the impact of diet on the outcome of one’s health. This research is important in social work in that it creates awareness to the growing public health problem of human disease and preventable deaths.

Included in

Social Work Commons