Skip to content

Emotional and mental health

It is important to keep a healthy mind while living with diabetes.

Diabetes can be really tough to live with. Sometimes people feel distressed, which can include feeling frustrated, guilty, sad, or worried. Managing your diabetes can at times be stressful. Living with diabetes and managing it well can involve a lot of thinking, planning and problem solving. It can take a toll on your emotional well-being. It’s not surprising that many people with diabetes—as well as those who care for someone with diabetes—feel emotional.

It is understandable if you feel this way too. Sometimes, nothing seems to go right. You may feel like you are ‘failing’ with your diabetes management—this can make it very difficult to stay motivated and to take care of your health. Sometimes, it can be hard to focus on other aspects of life, like work or school, and family or friends. It can also be hard to feel confident when others don’t really understand what you are going through, especially if you feel they are judging you for having diabetes or for the way you are managing it.

Feeling down or worried about your diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean you have a mental health condition. But, if you do, you are not alone, and help is available. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health conditions that people in Australia experience. Whether they have diabetes or not. Having depression or anxiety may not be related to your diabetes, but it can affect the way you feel about your diabetes. If you think you may be experiencing depression or anxiety, it is important to seek help from a qualified health professional.

Depression is much more than sadness. It is a serious mental health condition.

If you think you might be experiencing depression, it is important that you seek help from a qualified health professional.

Below is a list of fact sheets on diabetes and mental health. Each one offers information, tips and support to help you identify whether you need help, and where and how to get it.

Adjusting to life with diabetes fact sheet

A diagnosis of diabetes can come as a shock. First reactions may be disbelief, sadness, anger or self-blame. Usually, these feelings ease after a while and diabetes becomes part of life.

Download now
Concerns about starting insulin (for people with type 2 diabetes) fact sheet

Many people with type 2 diabetes have concerns or feel anxious about starting insulin. There are many things you can do to adjust to this new way of managing your diabetes.

Download now
Diabetes and anxiety fact sheet

Anxiety is often a healthy response to a perceived threat. For most people, anxious feelings go away after the threat has passed. There are many things you can do to reduce your anxiety.

Download now
Diabetes and depression fact sheet

Everyone feels down or sad from time to time. For most people, these feelings do not last long. There are many things you can do to overcome your feelings of depression.

Download now
Diabetes and disordered eating fact sheet

Living with diabetes places a lot of focus on food, weight and body image. Sometimes, this can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, disordered eating or, possibly an eating disorder.

Download now
Diabetes distress fact sheet

Diabetes distress is the emotional burden of living with and managing diabetes. Diabetes distress becomes a serious problem when these emotions start to affect daily life, including diabetes management.

Download now
Fear of hypoglycaemia fact sheet

People with diabetes often worry or become fearful about hypos. There are many things you can do to reduce the risk of hypos and ease your fears.

Download now
When and how psychologists can support people with diabetes fact sheet

Most people with diabetes manage well most of the time. But it is okay to acknowledge if you are struggling. Many people benefit from specialist emotional support from a psychologist.

Download now
When and how a psychologist can support me quick guide

This quick guide answers common questions about psychologist support.

Available in other languages Download
Diabetes care and COVID-19 fact sheet

Diabetes health care may have changed because of COVID-19. You may feel worried about accessing diabetes care and this is understandable.

Download now
Managing worry about COVID-19 and diabetes fact sheet

If you find yourself worrying, it might help to focus on the things that you can control in your life.

Available in other languages Download now

It is always a good idea to talk about your concerns with your GP or another qualified health professional. Bring along the relevant fact sheet to your appointment to help get the conversation started.

Your diabetes health professionals are there to help you with all aspects of your diabetes, including how you feel about it.

Your GP can make an assessment, offer treatment and/or refer you to a mental health professional. You might also like to talk with a psychologist or psychiatrist. Your GP can tell you if you are eligible for a Mental Health Treatment Plan to reduce the costs of seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist.

To help you manage your diabetes and reduce your risk of diabetes-related complications, work with your diabetes health professional to set goals and fill in a personalised Information Prescription. Information Prescriptions help you understand and improve your health targets to manage your diabetes. Read more in our Information Prescription.

My emotions and diabetes Information Precription

Living with diabetes has its ups and downs and it can affect how you feel. Understanding how diabetes affects your mood means you can take steps to improve your emotional wellbeing.


Peer support is connecting with peers—who are similar to you—living with diabetes. Peer support can take many forms, including a casual conversation with a peer to a formal, face-to-face, structured group.

Read more about peer support in our fact sheets.

Peer support for diabetes fact sheet

Connecting with other people who have diabetes is an effective means of accessing peer support. Sharing your experiences with others can help you feel less alone.

Download now
Adjusting to life with diabetes fact sheet

A diagnosis of diabetes can come as a shock. First reactions may be disbelief, sadness, anger or self-blame. Usually, these feelings ease after a while and diabetes becomes part of life.

Download now

Find out more about peer support.

More information and support

  • Head to Health
    Easy online access to a range of mental health information, advice and treatment options, enabling people to seek support in times of need, or when it is most convenient for them.
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
    Beyond Blue provides information and support for people with depression or anxiety, or anyone going through a tough time. Support services are available via phone, email or live chat, including online forums where you can connect with others.
  • Lifeline on 13 11 14
    Lifeline offers 24-hour confidential phone and online crisis support. People contact Lifeline for a range of reasons, including feelings of depression, stress, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts or attempts.
  • Headspace on 03 9027 0100
    Headspace is a mental health foundation for youth, providing early intervention mental health services to 12–25 year-olds. Information and services also available to young people, their family and friends, and health professionals.
  • Better Access Initiative to mental health care, Department of Health and Aged Care
    Information about Medicare rebates to help people access mental health services provided by GPs, psychiatrists, psychologists and eligible social workers and occupational therapists.
  • NDSS Helpline on 1800 637 700 or email [email protected]
    Diabetes Australia offers a free national NDSS Helpline, through which people with diabetes and their carers can access diabetes information, programs, activities, peer support groups.

Developed in collaboration with The Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes, a partnership for better health between Diabetes Victoria and Deakin University

Diabetes Australia acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this Country. We recognise their connection to land, waters, winds and culture. We pay the upmost respect to them, their cultures and to their Elders, past and present. We are committed to improving health outcomes for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by diabetes and those at risk.

Learn about the artwork