A new evidence-based resource is available for health professionals to help identify and meet the emotional and psychological needs of people with diabetes.
The handbook, developed by Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes (ACBRD) and Diabetes Australia, aims to give health professionals the strategies and tools to better recognise and work with people with diabetes to reduce the significant psychological burden of the condition.
Professor Jane Speight foundation director of the ACBRD said there was extensive evidence highlighting the mental health impacts of living with diabetes.
“We found 1 in 4 people with type 1 diabetes and 1 in 5 people with type 2 diabetes experience severe diabetes distress,” she said.
“People with diabetes may also experience other emotional and mental health problems including fear of hypoglycaemia, and symptoms of depression and anxiety.”
The ACBRD worked in collaboration with Diabetes Australia to produce the handbook titled Diabetes and emotional health. The initiative was funded by the Federal Government’s National Diabetes Services Scheme,
In conjunction with the handbook, eight fact sheets have been developed and are available for people living with diabetes to reflect on their emotional wellbeing and to increase their awareness of how to seek assistance.
Dr Christel Hendrieckx, clinical psychologist with the ACBRD, said recent international research found only half of diabetes health professionals provide psychological assessment and support to meet the psychological needs of people with diabetes.
“One of the fundamental reasons for this is that many health professionals do not feel they have the appropriate training to offer support to people with diabetes who are emotionally distressed, so this handbook is an important new resource for them,” Dr Hendrieckx said.
“While there are some resources available about general mental health problems, depression and anxiety for example, the importance of this new handbook is its focus on how living with diabetes specifically affects emotional and mental health, for example fear of hypoglycaemia, a diabetes-specific distress.”
Diabetes Australia CEO Associate Professor Greg Johnson said the new resource was an important tool to promote more holistic diabetes healthcare.
“This handbook will help create more opportunities for people with diabetes to talk about their emotional wellbeing with their health professional and, if problems are present, to identify and address them.
“Psychological health and physical health go hand in hand. If we don’t address psychological health more effectively we will not achieve holistic healthcare.”
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