Adults living with diabetes – Emotional health
Did you know?
- Around 1 in 4 Australian adults with diabetes experience moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms. This may or may not be related to their diabetes. People feeling this way should seek advice and assistance from their health professionals.
- Diabetes distress is the emotional burden, worries and stresses associated with living with diabetes. Approximately 1 in 5 Australian adults experience severe diabetes distress.
- Around 1 in 4 Australian adults with diabetes (all types) report worrying about the future and the possibility of developing diabetes-related complications. A similar number of people reported feelings of guilt or anxiety when they are struggling with their diabetes management.
- Many people with diabetes feel stigmatised for having the condition. When people are stigmatised they often feel that they have been labelled in a negative way or treated unfairly.
- Most people with insulin-treated diabetes experience hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) from time to time. A minority have had at least one severe hypoglycaemic event in the past 6 months. For some people, concerns about hypoglycaemia can become a fear of hypoglycaemia.
- Many people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes find it difficult to engage in healthy eating and physical activity as recommended. Around 1 in 3 people find these activities to be a ‘considerable’ or ‘a great’ burden.
- Peer support offers people with diabetes the opportunity to share their knowledge, experiences, emotions and ideas with each other. Only 10% of Australian adults with diabetes are currently part of a peer support group or community (online or in person), but around 1 in 3 people would like to be in the future.
The above facts are a summary of some of the findings of the Diabetes MILES-2 (Management and Impact for Long-term Empowerment and Success) study. This study was conducted by the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes (ACBRD) in 2015. The full results of their study are outlined in the Diabetes MILES-2 2016 Survey Report.
Emotional health resources
The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) and the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes (ACBRD) have developed 8 free factsheets on diabetes and emotional health. Each factsheet includes information on identifying the emotional health concern, as well as practical tips for managing the concern, and where to seek additional help.
- Adjusting to life with diabetes (PDF)
- Concerns about starting insulin (for people with type 2 diabetes) (PDF)
- Diabetes and anxiety (PDF)
- Diabetes and depression (PDF)
- Diabetes and disordered eating (PDF)
- Diabetes distress (PDF)
- Fear of hypoglycaemia (PDF)
- Peer support for diabetes (PDF)
If you want to talk with someone about how you feel about living with diabetes, the first step is to talk with your doctor (GP) or diabetes educator. They will have information about emotional health services in your area, both Medicare funded and professional counsellors or psychologists in private practice.
You can also contact a member of our advocacy team on 1300 136 588 for in-person, telephone or web-based counselling options.
The following telephone helplines provide information and support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Beyondblue promotes good mental health. They provide information and support via telephone, email, online forums or chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to anyone experiencing anxiety, depression or who are going through a tough time.
Lifeline provides telephone crisis support and suicide prevention services, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
MensLine is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week telephone and online support, referral and information service to help men deal with relationship problems in a practical and effective way.
The Suicide Call Back Service provides free phone, video and online counselling for anyone affected by suicide.
Triple zero (000): If a life is in danger. State if you want Police, Fire or Ambulance.
The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement provides counselling, information, programs and a referral service for individuals, children and families who may be struggling following the death of a loved one. It also provides a range of grief education and training services.
The Australian Psychological Society is the peak body for psychologists in Australia. Visit their website to find a psychologist close to your home or workplace.
Diabetes Victoria peer support groups bring together people who share common experiences, conditions, concerns, goals or interests. They offer people an opportunity to improve their quality of life through mutual support and education.
In-person professional counselling services may also be offered by your local community health services, university psychology and counselling clinics, and hospital or community social workers.
Relationships Australia provides relationship support services to individuals, families and communities.
This article was originally published by Diabetes Victoria at www.diabetesvic.org.au