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World Mental Health Day- what's that got to do with Diabetes?

Wednesday 10th October is World Mental Health Day.

Why is this important in Diabetes?

Well for one, I believe that when we are supporting a patient with Diabetes, we aren’t just isolating and treating the Diabetes, we are thinking about and supporting the whole person. I wanted to make a mention of this today, as it’s something I get a real “bee in my bonnet” about. I think often, practitioners can get so caught up in managing blood sugars alone that they forget to use a whole person approach. Life isn't just about Diabetes and blood sugars for those with Diabetes. There are also health conditions that run alongside, activity and mobility, growth and development, general health and well-being, stress, sleep, relationships and mental health and well-being to consider.

Last year, Diabetes UK published stats that showed that 3 in 5 persons living with Diabetes experienced emotional or mental health problems as a result of their condition. A further short, industry, survey this year found that over half of people with Diabetes in the UK have been treated for mental health problems.

Dietitians have been criticised unfairly, recently, about not buying into strict and “one size fits all” dietary approaches to managing Diabetes. We consistently reply that we use a whole person, whole diet approach which is individualised. This is more important than ever when considering the mental health of our patients/clients.

So, what is important to think about on World Health Day?

Obviously, as mentioned, Diabetes care should be a whole person approach, not just focusing on outcomes around blood sugars and complications management.

We need to think about (just a few)

  • Just being aware of the issues that people with Diabetes may have and being able to recognise signs or depression and anxiety

  • Helping patients/clients to recognise these as well

  • Supporting the person as whole - by listening and talking and using a health coaching model

  • Using a whole diet approach which looks at not only carb management but also an overall optimum diet for mood and well-being

  • Encouraging activity and daily sleep health

  • Encouraging people to talk and seek support

  • Referring people for suitable help (counselling, CBT etc)

So I thought it was worth a mention today. Let’s make sure we look at the person with the Diabetes, not just the Diabetes xx

(Image: Pixabay)

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