Mental health, diet & nutrition

In Canada, the mental health, diet and nutrition needs of individuals living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are not currently included in the typical care plan. The best way to care for individuals living with IBD is with a team that can address the unique needs of each individual by providing personalized care. 

In recent years, there has been greater awareness of the mental health needs for individuals with IBD. Depression and generalized anxiety disorders are twice as likely in persons with IBD as in persons without IBD. There is a lot of evidence that suggests mental health concerns can occur following an IBD diagnosis, especially during the first few years. 

Diet and nutrition is another important topic for individuals living with IBD. There are a wide range of diet and nutritional issues, with an often confusing selection of advice regarding dietary restrictions (e.g., carbohydrates), exclusions (e.g., no gluten or lactose), or emphasis (probiotic foods). Self-directed diet methods can lead to increased stress, unnecessary diet restrictions and possibly nutritional shortages without any improvement in IBD symptoms or outcomes.  Additionally, concerns as to whether a person is nutritionally “healthy” or following the “right diet” can affect mental health and well-being. 

Doctor consoling a patient 

At the University of Manitoba, Dr. Charles Bernstein and Dr. Lesley Graff are finding a way to make personalized mental health, diet and nutritional care available to Canadians living with IBD.  

The goals of the project are to: 

  • develop an online screening tool that patients’ can complete to identify their mental health, diet, and nutrition needs;
  • create tailored education and treatment options that can be followed by healthcare providers to address the unique needs of each patient; and
  • increase the accessibility of experts in the mental health, diet and nutrition to Canadians living with IBD.

Starting in 2021, the project will be pilot tested at the University of Manitoba. If the results show this approach can improve health outcomes then the screening tool and resources developed can be used by other healthcare providers to improve care across Canada.

Support the PACE Network

Donations to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada allow the PACE network to carry on its vital work and continue to find solutions to improve IBD care.


Contact Information

To learn more about the PACE network, please contact

The PACE network is supported by Crohn’s and Colitis Canada and our funding partners:

Woman talking to physician over tablet
Woman talking to physician over tablet
Woman talking to physician over tablet
Woman talking to physician over tablet
Woman talking to physician over tablet

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

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