Revealed: the mental health toll caused by diabetes

Diabetes crop

​Diabetes UK wants to see more psychological support for people with the condition

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14th November 2017 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

The majority of people living with diabetes in Scotland have experienced emotional or mental health problems as a result.

New research released on World Diabetes Day (14 November) by Diabetes UK has uncovered the toll the condition takes.

Now the charity is urging for increased provision of psychological support for people living with diabetes across Scotland.  

As part of one of the largest surveys carried out by the charity, over 700 people of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds from across Scotland shared their experiences of living with diabetes today, and what their hopes and fears were for the future.

How diabetes affects emotional wellbeing stood out as a major factor for Scottish respondents, with 64% saying that they often or sometimes feel down because of their diabetes.

One third said diabetes got in the way of them or a family member doing things they wanted to do in the previous week. Alarmingly, only 28.7% of Scots said they definitely felt in control of their diabetes.

The research also found that 22% had used support or counselling from a trained professional to help them manage their diabetes, and 31% had at some point relied on self-help materials including books, videos and resources found online.

Claire Fleming, acting national director at Diabetes Scotland, said: “Diabetes affects more than 291,000 people in Scotland and is the fastest-growing health crisis of our time. It can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and lower limb amputations.

“This new research brings to light the isolation that can come from managing an invisible condition, and how living with diabetes can be detrimental to a person’s emotional wellbeing without the right support. 

“Effective diabetes care requires that a person’s emotional needs are taken into account alongside their physical care needs. We want to see a system where specialist support – from people who understand diabetes – is made available to those who need it.

“In Scotland, we’d like to see increased availability of trained staff to meet the emotional and psychological needs of people living with diabetes. This should include core training in mental health skills for all healthcare professionals working in diabetes, including GPs and specialists. 

“We also want to see more psychology staff with an expertise in diabetes who are routinely available within every diabetes team.”  

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