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UC talk: Could nutrition help solve the mental health crisis?

29 May 2023

What if we’re looking for solutions to mental health problems in some of the wrong places? What if we changed what we eat and how we feed our brains?


With an increasing number of New Zealanders experiencing poor mental wellbeing, it’s estimated one in four people will experience mental distress. In such challenging times, what if we focused on prevention and considered the impact the food environment is having on our resilience and ability to cope?

In this free Tauhere UC Connect public lecture Could nutrition help solve the mental health crisis? – an internationally renowned expert will look at the research over the past decade, livestreamed and in person at the University of Canterbury, on Wednesday evening, 31 May.

In her sold-out talk, University of Canterbury clinical psychologist Professor Julia Rucklidge will discuss the current research, uncovering an alarming picture of declining food quality as risk factors for all kinds of mental health challenges, and describe practical ways to use nutrition to better feed the brain.

While in-person attendance is full, people can watch the talk via free livestream on the University of Canterbury’s Facebook page, or watch the video later on the Tauhere UC Connect YouTube channel.

  • The year 2023 marks the University of Canterbury’s sesquicentenary, with the 150th anniversary theme: Ka titiro whakamuri, ki te anga whakamua | Guided by the past, shaping the future.
  • Tauhere UC Connect public lecture: Could nutrition help solve the mental health crisis? presented by Professor Julia Rucklidge, University of Canterbury, from 7pm–8pm, Wednesday 31 May 2023, in C1 Central lecture theatre at the University of Canterbury, Ilam, Christchurch. Register to attend free at:
    Tauhere UC Connect talks are also livestreamed on the UC Facebook page, and made available to watch on YouTube.

More about the speaker

Julia Rucklidge is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Canterbury and the Director of Te Puna Toiora | the Mental Health and Nutrition Research Lab. She is co-author of The Better Brain (Penguin 2021). Originally from Toronto, Canada, in 2000, she immigrated to New Zealand. She has become well known for her research investigating the interface between nutrition and mental health, been the recipient of numerous local and international awards and frequently featuring in the media on her work. Her 2014 TEDx talk has been viewed close to 5million times. Julia is passionate about challenging the current medical paradigm that dominates our understanding of psychiatric problems with the goal of raising awareness of how our food environment is a significant contributor to poor mental health. Her free online course is here:

Media contact
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  • Phone: (03) 369 3631 or 027 503 0168
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