WVU nursing students featured on podcast discuss link between nutrition and mental health

WVU School of Nursing Keyser Campus students Jenna Ujcic and Riley Haines recently developed and produced a podcast episode to help students at Frankfort High School understand the intricate relationship between mental health and nutrition.

The duo are both former students of Frankfort High School and were placed there for their clinical capstone implementation. During their rotations at the school, Ujcic and Haines noticed two distinct issues in the community — mental health and nutrition. In pursuit of completing their capstone course, they decided to collaborate, taking on research about the correlation between mental health and nutrition and how it impacts the well-being of adolescents.

Ujcic and Haines were approached by Gay Pernau, Media Specialist Department Head and Technology Chairperson at Frankfort High School, to create an episode for the Everything Frankfort podcast, and community-based preceptor Kara Griffithk, RN, offered support to the researchers.

While simultaneously preparing each of their capstone presentations, Ujcic and Haines worked diligently to combine their research to create the podcast episode.

“It was difficult to find research articles to support what we wanted to convey,” Haines said. “It was really easy to find articles for nutritional needs for children or mental illnesses in adults, but adolescence isn’t an area that is widely studied. We really had to use all of our resources to find the most reliable information.”

After what seemed like tireless research, the pair, along with Pernau and Griffith, were able to record and edit the podcast episode. During the episode, they discussed their findings on the topic and promoted healthy avenues for teens to improve their daily lives.

“We found that nutritional deficiencies have a significant impact on mental well-being, especially for adolescents,” Ujcic said. “We also found that when students are stressed or depressed, they tend to eat too much or not enough, which in turn, causes nutritional deficiencies.”

With the podcast format adapted perfectly to the intended audience and executed with professionalism, it was a successful endeavor.

Ujcic added, “Being able to make a difference with our education at Frankfort High School was very rewarding. Because we are both former Frankfort High School students, we found it very rewarding being able to give back to the current students with the implementation of our projects and our podcast episode.”

Listen to the episode on the Everything Frankfort podcast, available on Spotify.



CONTACT: Wendy Holdren
Director of Communications and Marketing
WVU School of Nursing
304-581-1772; wendy.holdren@hsc.wvu.edu