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The effects of food insecurity on the individual and society

By Omar Rizk

Contributing Author

The effects that the coronavirus has had on society have been manifold and devastating. From nations to the individuals who make them up, the coronavirus has left wreckage in its wake, the whole of which may not be apparent at first glance.

It’s no surprise that the pandemic has had a negative effect on the world. Much attention is being paid to the deaths, the economy, and the legislation implemented as a result of it. Though it is good that awareness is being spread regarding these topics, this resulted in a general disregard for topics such as food insecurity and mental health.

Food insecurity may not affect you or the people you know, however, it affects a significant stratum of the population who are not as fortunate. Millennials, aged 18 to 34, are the most likely to turn to food banks for help after encountering financial problems or losing their jobs (Huffpost, 2018). With prices for tuition rising at an unprecedented rate, students are struggling to have access to adequate meals. From this lack of food derives a whole other realm of suffering.

Food insecurity, although a tragedy on its own, is a catalyst for even more devastation. For example, it could lead to depression, which in turn causes the individual to develop a lack of motivation. This can render them incapable of pursuing productive endeavors. Such individuals would not contribute to society, therefore an effort must be made towards providing them with the food they need.

“Even before holiday-season restrictions went into effect in some parts of the country, Canadians were reporting their highest-ever levels of depression and anxiety, according to a new poll” (CTV, 2021). A definite reason for the surge in depression could be the lack of healthy meals due to the revenue loss from the unemployment scourge. Researchers found that a healthy diet, the Mediterranean diet as an example, was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing depressive symptoms (Harvard, 2020). Taking this into consideration, we can deduce that by providing people with healthy meals, instead of sugar and carbohydrates, they will feel better, and in turn, feel more motivated to contribute to society.

Strides towards mental health awareness must be made during a pandemic, especially when higher rates of depression are being reported. It is not wise to disregard the mental health of individuals, especially during a time where they must contribute towards things such as rebuilding the economy. Even something as small as a poor diet could set someone on the path of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness. So please, contribute whatever amount of food you can towards the rejuvenation of our communities.

This year has certainly been nothing short of a disaster for everyone, from shortages of food to surges in depression. As we progress through the pandemic, we must keep in mind the many ways we could be making improvements to the world. Whether it’s volunteering, donating to food banks or charities, or spreading awareness, there’s always something to do.

Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed in the blog posts are those of the contributing author. Rising Sun Food Drive Foundation makes every effort to provide space for young people to advocate and voice their thoughts, research, opinions and ideas that are inspired by our mission but may not reflect on the organization's services and operations.

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