Episode 8 – Food Insecurity and Mental Health with Emily Anne Opala and Theresa Couto

In this episode, CICMH’s Knowledge and Research Lead Emily Anne Opala is joined by Theresa Couto, a Registered Dietitian & Wellness and Sustainability Manager at Queen’s University, for a conversation about food insecurity on campus. As a third to one half of students are classified as food insecure globally, programs like Swipe It Forward at Queen’s are working to offer options for students in need.

Listen to Episode 8:

About Emily Anne Opala

Emily Anne Opala (she/her) started her career in neuroscience, studying the impacts of stress on the brains of post-partum rat moms. During that time, she started volunteering for the sexual assault centre at her university, where she learned the basics of anti-oppressive practice and discovered her interest in psychoeducation. She went on to work in a supportive housing program, providing case management and counselling to women with histories of trauma and substance use. Emily Anne developed a number of events, classes, and resources for the women in that program, leading her to shift her career goals and landing her among the incredible team at CICMH as a Knowledge and Research Lead. She currently lives in High Park with her partner and their dog, Shakira. She fills her time with cooking, poetry, and artmaking, with a particular love for anything miniature (ask her about her miniature dollhouses).

About Theresa Couto

Theresa Couto (she/her) is a Registered Dietitian and the Wellness and Sustainability Manager at Queen’s University. Practicing as a Registered Dietitian for the last nine years, Theresa loves all things food and believes food fuels the body and the soul. She believes in a balanced approach to eating and the interconnectedness of food and nutrition with mental and physical well-being.

Before working at Queen’s, Theresa worked in a family health team, where she was able to see the implications of food insecurity amongst vulnerable populations. In her current role, she is passionate about helping students navigate the meal plan to meet their dietary needs and preferences and enjoys connecting with students through nutrition appointments. Theresa enjoys learning about sustainability as it relates to food systems and is grateful for the opportunity to effect change in the campus community.

In her spare time, she loves to hike with her dog Archie and practice yoga.

For further information you can visit the following websites:

  1. CICMH Food Insecurity and Mental Health Infosheet: https://campusmentalhealth.ca/infosheets/food-insecurity-and-mental-health/
  2. Queen’s University Food Insecurity Report Update: https://www.queensu.ca/provost/committees-and-reports/office-provost-student-food-insecurity-advisory-committee
  3. Student Affairs Food Access Resources: https://www.queensu.ca/studentaffairs/resources/students#food-access-resources
  4. Meal Exchange: https://www.mealexchange.com/resources
  5. Swipe it Forward: https://dining.queensu.ca/swipeitforward/
  6. PEACH Market: https://dining.queensu.ca/peach/
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