Supporting Adolescent Mental Health 

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This course...

  • is delivered: As an online course
  • is for: Nutritional therapy practitioners, nutritionists, dieticians, naturopaths, other health care providers and final year nutrition students interested in applying functional medicine approaches to health and well-being (i.e. exploring how nutrients, other foods and lifestyle factors influence the function of the body and how to apply findings in a person–centred manner that recognises individuals’ unique differences)
  • is with: Belinda Blake
  • spans: 1 day
  • provides: BANT CPD 5 hours, NNA CPD 5 hours, ION CPD 5 hours*



This course will explore factors contributing to mental health problems commonly experienced by adolescents, including social, environmental and dietary influences. We will look closely at the teenage brain and discuss the impact that neuronal changes and sex hormones might have on adolescent behaviour and mood. Finally, we will explore strategies to work effectively in supporting adolescent mental health and well-being in our practices.

According to NHS England, 1 in 5 children and young people were found to have a probable mental health disorder in 2023. This one-day course focusses on exploring the mental health problems experienced by young people during adolescence, a period which can extend from the age of 10 up into the mid 20’s and which involves an intensive period of brain and nervous system remodeling. We will explore the potential impact of diet and lifestyle on symptoms, via different body systems and mechanisms, and discuss different strategies, drawing upon case studies, to help support and empower these young people. 

Working with adolescents can be challenging. This course aims to help us better understand the world from the perspective of an adolescent and their nutritional and emotional needs, as well as practical ones, helping to instill confidence in working with them in our practices. How many times have you heard a client say that their problems first started when they were at university? Working with adolescents provides a great potential to make a difference to their adult life ahead and can be hugely rewarding.

This course will discuss the prevalence and types of mental health problems affecting adolescents, with a special focus on depression and anxiety, and explore how neuronal and sex hormone changes might influence behaviour and mood during this period of growth. 

We will explore the role that adolescent diet, lifestyle choices and social and environmental factors may play in impacting resilience and mental health, looking in depth at stressors, including poor sleep, caffeine, alcohol, smoking, recreational drugs, social media, ultra processed foods and … sugar! 

Examples of the questions it will answer:

  • How to differentiate between normal adolescent behaviour and mental health problems, and what red flags to look out for
  • What biochemical pathways are involved in mental health problems and how we might support these through diet and lifestyle strategies 

Finally, we will discuss what strategies are available to support adolescent mental health, the benefit of collaborative interventions and a practical, as well as a clinical approach. We will talk about client engagement, nutrients, food, movement, mindfulness, breath and sleep. Case studies will be used to explore different scenarios incorporating different perspectives from parents, teachers and other practitioners working with adolescents. Testing will be touched upon, and we will discuss the benefit of the Organic Acid Test (OAT) when working with more complex cases.

What will I learn?

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Feel more confident in working with adolescent clients in your practice 
  • Apply new research findings in your approach to supporting young people with mental health problems
  • Better understand the needs of working with an adolescent living in student accommodation and with a limited budget
  • Create realistic, practical and effective diet, lifestyle and supplement programmes 
  • Provide your clients with useful resources, including recipes and meal plans
  • Motivate and empower adolescents to make lasting changes 

What will be covered?


  • Webinar waiting room opened

Session 1 10am - 11.15am: 
Exploring the impact of neuronal and hormonal changes and how these might impact mood, behaviour and mental health

  • ION introductions and housekeeping
  • Prevalence and types of mental health problems affecting adolescents 
  • Gender differences in mental health
  • Changes to the brain during adolescence 
  • Impact of sex hormones on mood and mental health 
  • Session key points and a few questions to check participants’ understanding of the session
  • Q and A 

Session 2 11.30am - 12.45pm: 
Exploring adolescent lifestyle, including social and environmental factors and understand how these might impact mental health through different biochemical pathways

  • Impact of lifestyle factors (including relationships, alcohol, smoking, recreational drugs and social media) on mental health, highlighting the role of dopamine and cortisol 
  • Circadian rhythm and the importance of sleep for good mental health
  • Mindfulness exercise 
  • Case study (University student living in student accommodation) 
  • Session key points and a few questions to check participants’ understanding of the session
  • Q and A

Session 3 1.45pm - 3.00pm: 
Exploring nutrient requirements during adolescence and the impact of potential nutritional deficiencies on good mental health 

  • Impact of diet on mental health, focusing on ultra processed foods
  • Link between the microbiome and mental health
  • Case study (16-year-old girl on a vegan diet)
  • Nutrient requirements for adolescents and the impact of deficiencies on mental health
  • Session key points and a few questions to check participants’ understanding of the session
  • Q and A

Session 4 3.15pm - 4.30pm: 
Exploring different strategies to engage and work effectively with adolescents in your practice

  • Case study (taking nutrition out of the clinic – Eat Yourself Fabulous teen workshops)
  • Realistic protocols exploring coaching and communication methods, diet and supplement recommendations 
  • Realistic protocols - diet and supplement recommendations
  • Useful resources
  • Session key points and a few questions to check participants’ understanding of the session
  • Q and A
  • ION wrap up and thanks

Who is leading the course?

Belinda Blake DipION, mBANT, CNHC reg

Belinda is an ION graduate and an experienced registered nutritional therapy practitioner, lecturer and clinical supervisor. Belinda has a passion for food and employs a creative approach to teaching, running hands-on workshops on a variety of health topics, for both health professionals and members of the public.

She employs the same approach to working with children and young adults and has run cooking clubs for pre-school and school aged children to help gently educate about nutrition, plus teach valuable cooking skills and expand food choices. The Eat Yourself Fabulous teen workshops, were well received and ran both in schools and privately.

These practical sessions were designed to help teenage girls make the connection between what they eat and how they feel and focused on providing nutrition and lifestyle advice to help manage menstrual problems as well as supporting mood (plus provided plenty of food to taste-test and play with along the way). In these workshops, Belinda has worked collaboratively with other health professionals, including a counsellor, psychotherapist and mindfulness instructor, which had added additional tools to her nutrition toolbox and approach.

When she is not seeing clients in her Surrey clinic or in the kitchen, you may find Belinda in the hedgerows foraging for wild food and still managing to embarrass her 21-year-old daughter.  

How will I be taught?

ION’s courses reflect best practice for online teaching and learning practice.  We aim to offer a variety of interactive formats to support you with participating in online events.  We also provide regular review and recap sessions and encourage critical thinking and reflection. 

The course will include online presentations interspersed with individual exercises and Q&A. 

How much does it cost and what’s included?

  • The course price is £125.00
  • The ability to ask some questions (within set times)
  • PDF of Powerpoint
  • Edited webinar recording, available for 90 days
  • Confirmation of attendance and 5 hours ION CPD
  • BANT CPD 5 hours, NNA CPD 5 hours

Important information


  • Please check you have read ION’s FAQs including our cancellation and refund policy before booking
  • Click the "BOOK" button at the top or bottom of this page - you will be taken to our webinar platform 'Big Marker' to purchase your ticket.
  • Please ensure you use the same name and email to register, login and purchase tickets on our website and any partner platforms.

What should I do if a course is full?

  • If a course is full when you try to book, please make sure you are signed up to receive our CPD courses mailings. The recording and materials will be available to view on demand a few weeks after the course and you should be notified about this.

Registration links and materials

  • If you successfully book on a course, you will be automatically sent a link to the course when you register. Please do not share this with anyone. This is set up to only allow entry to the first user that clicks it. Further links cannot be generated.
  • Approximately 1 weeks before the course you will be sent an email so that you can access course materials. 
  • Where indicated in the programme, a recording of the course will be available a few weeks after the course to view for 90 days


  • Participation in an ION CPD course forms part of a practitioner's or individual's ongoing learning. It does not qualify a non-clinically trained practitioner or individual to work in a clinical setting. Individual’s boundaries of safe work, advice or practice are primarily determined by their formal qualifications and related personal insurance.
  • ION does not send out certificates for live online courses

* ION will send an automatic confirmation of attendance providing ION CPD hours when a participant has been present for the duration of the course (as reported via the online platform)

** Applied for

If you have a queries, please email [email protected]