top of page

Accessibility to Food Allergy-Knowledgeable Behavioral Health Professionals (Survey Results)

The food allergy community continues to express a need to focus more on the mental/behavioral health needs of individuals and families managing food allergies. Some may find this path relatively easy to navigate, while others share that they wished they had more support, including access to food allergy-knowledgeable clinical behavioral health professionals. 

To gain a better understanding of these needs, Tamara Hubbard, LCPC recently created a short survey to obtain basic data on the desire for food allergy behavioral health services and gaining access to them. Below are the results from a two-question survey titled "Access to Food Allergy-Knowledgeable Behavioral Health Professionals Connected w/Allergy Practices".

(This survey was circulated on social media and throughout food allergy support groups. At the time this was published, there were 116 participants who had taken the survey).

Question 1: Yes = 70.7%;  Maybe = 22.4%;  No = 6.9%

Question 2: Yes = 73.1%;  Maybe = 19.1%;  No = 7.8%

In addition to answering the two questions, participants were able to leave comments on this topic. Below are many of the responses:

  • Anxiety is such a huge deal when a food allergy diagnosis is first made; having group and individual sessions available would be helpful for quality of life.

  • If we had been referred to someone at initial diagnosis it would have helped transition into food allergy life and day-to-day management difficulties.

  • I think it is also important to know that a counselor has experience with food allergies. We saw some regular counselors who I didn’t feel even begin to understand the depths of what food allergies do to your life until she saw us for almost a year.

  • Managing multiple severe food allergies and EOE takes a large emotional toll. I believe every allergist’s office should have behavioral Health specialists knowledgeable about FA and chronic medical conditions available for the patient (children) and their caregivers.

  • Many food allergy parents like myself deal with crushing stress and anxiety and could benefit greatly from the right services. Most allergists diagnose and then families are left to deal with the aftermath basically alone.

  • It would be so beneficial for all allergy practices to have a counselor available who truly knows allergies and is in line with their way of thinking.

  • As of now, we are living day to day with his extreme anxiety. Therefore, I believe this resource is essential for those especially with multiple anaphylactic food allergies, such as my family.

  • Currently, families are helped with the medical side but not the social side and kids suffer if their parents can't figure it out on their own. It's a very lonely and stressful place for the parents as well!

  • The psycho/social impact of life with food allergies has been overlooked for far too long.

  • We found the registered dietician consultant affiliated with our allergist to be so helpful and it would be amazing to have a counseling/behavioral health professional linked with our allergist office as well.

  • As kids age and those diagnosed at different stages in life, it would be essential to have these services to help navigate the “new normal” for the patient.

  • I think counseling should be offered from the first diagnosis and continually offered at each check-up.

  • Having a LCSW connected with allergy professionals would have helped our family immensely. I spend so much time in my own counseling sessions discussing my anxieties geared toward food allergies and explaining what food allergies really mean.

  • I also see the opportunity for collaboration with permission between the doctor and counselor to help parents make proper choices based on the degree of allergies they are dealing with.

  • Someone who can teach proper coping mechanisms and also be knowledgeable on family dynamics with allergy stressors would be super helpful.

The results of this survey show that more than 70% of the respondents would like access to food allergy-knowledgeable clinical behavioral health professionals. Many also are in favor of the counseling professional and their allergist collaborating in some manner to offer services that positively impact the body AND mind.  Based on these results, it suggest that allergists have an opportunity to differentiate themselves from their peers by offering a holistic approach, which addresses the medical and psychosocial/mental health needs of their food-allergic patients.

What You Can Do:

  • If you feel having access to or the ability for a referral to food allergy-knowledgeable clinical behavioral health/counseling professionals is important, be sure to let your allergist know. Making them aware of elevated levels of emotions that impact your ability to navigate life with food allergies is crucial to ensuring you are receiving the services you need.

If you're a food allergy-informed therapist, or want to learn more about the food allergy counseling niche, please visit another resource I founded, The Food Allergy Counseling Directory and Academy of Food Allergy Counseling at


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page