Mental Health Professional

Mental Health Laws: Mental health laws typically do not include nutrition within their scope of practice.

Nutrition Laws: Nutrition licensing laws commonly have exemptions providing varying degrees of protection for licensed health care providers who offer nutrition care. Exemptions within nutrition laws generally fall into one of the following three categories:

  • No protection unless nutrition is explicitly named in a provider’s corresponding scope of practice
  • Protection for licensed health care providers using nutrition to augment their primary profession
  • Full protection by virtue of being a licensed health professional in the state in which a provider is practicing

When can you use nutrition tools in your practice:
If your nutrition state law outlines a licensure with exclusive scope of practice but:

  • The law includes an exemption clause, acknowledging that health professions can practice nutrition to the extent to which it is outlined in the respective scopes of practice, and
  • Your profession’s mental health law explicitly outlines nutrition care,

then you can legally use nutrition tools as outlined by your mental health scope of practice.

If your nutrition state law outlines a licensure with exclusive scope of practice but:

  • The law includes an exemption clause, acknowledging that health professions can practice nutrition secondary to their primary profession

then you can use nutrition tools as an adjunct to your mental health practice.

If your nutrition state law outlines a licensure with exclusive scope of practice but:

  • The law exempts health professionals licensed in that state,

then you can legally use nutrition tools in your mental health practice.

If the nutrition law in your state is a licensure without exclusive scope of practice then you can practice nutrition care without being certified/licensed as a nutrition care provider. However, if specific title protections exists in the law, you may not use any protected title in advertising or practice.

Because both Mental Health Professional laws and Nutrition laws vary state to state, you must check the state laws for each profession where you practice to determine whether you can legally provide nutrition advice.

Disclaimer: This information represents a preliminary interpretation of state statutes, and cannot be substituted for legal counsel.