Nutrition and mental health; what are the links?


There are many documented links between nutrition and mental health. Good nutritional choices do affect mental health and wellbeing, and it also serves to promote and maintain healthy brain development in children and young people.

When children and young people make healthy eating choices, they feel better about themselves and their bodies, they are able to cope more effectively with stress, they can better manage their emotions and are more likely to get a good night’s sleep. This in turn serves to assist their learning, helping them focus at school and in their studies.

A lot of the research done on mental health and nutrition has focused on adults – in findings that good nutrition is associated with better mental health outcomes, whereas a poor diet is associated with a greater risk of depression and anxiety. However, emerging research on children and young adults has found that there is a relationship between unhealthy diets and poorer mental health outcomes.  There is a link between externalising behaviour (such as hyperactivity, aggression, disobedience) and one’s diet. Poor nutrition has also been linked to emotional and behavioural problems and increased learning difficulties – poor nutrition affects concentration and increases tiredness, which then interferes with learning. All of this – children’s behaviour, emotional stability and academic performance – improves when good quality food choices are made.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:


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