Diabetes patients suffer poor mental health, warns charity

Written by Tom Freeman on 14 May 2019 in News

Diabetes Scotland warns many people with the condition lack access to specialist mental health care

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People with diabetes are twice as likely to experience depression and need more support with their mental health, Diabetes Scotland has said.

In a new report, a survey for the charity of more than 2,000 adults across the UK with different types of diabetes revealed three quarters who needed mental health support could not access it.

Meanwhile, seven out of ten people with diabetes also reported that they are not helped to talk about their emotional wellbeing by their specialists.

Diabetes Scotland made series of recommendations for the Scottish Government, including more psychological support for those with the condition.

The link between diabetes and mental health was made in the Scottish Government’s 2014 improvement plan, but Diabetes Scotland said this had not translated into uniform action across Scotland.

The charity called for diabetes to be explicitly added to the current ten-year mental health strategy and national standards to be put in place.

Angela Mitchell, Director, Diabetes Scotland, said: “The day-to-day demands of managing diabetes can be a constant struggle affecting people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health. People tell us that struggling emotionally can make it even more difficult to keep on top of self-management.”

She added: “Mental health and physical health go hand in hand, but services for people with diabetes don’t always reflect this.

“We need to bridge the divide between physical and mental health services to ensure those with emotional and psychological difficulties related to their condition do not have their needs overlooked.

“It is critical that all diabetes care sees and supports the whole person and explores what matters most to them.”

Diabetes affects one in twenty-five people in Scotland, with rising rates among those with Type 2, which is linked to lifestyle. Around 12 per cent of diabetics have Type 1, which is caused by a deficient immune system.

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