National Diabetes Week 2020: talking about mental health

This week is National Diabetes Week and we are talking about mental health.

At times managing diabetes can be stressful. There is a lot of thinking, planning and problem solving and you might find it taking a toll on your emotional well-being. It’s not surprising that many people with diabetes—as well as those who care for them—sometimes feel overwhelmed, sad, frustrated or burned out.

It can 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.

The important thing to know is that support is available. You don’t have to feel that you are not coping by asking for help. And you don’t need to feel alone.

Some tips for looking after your mental and emotional health

Talk to other people with diabetes

Health experts aren’t the only people who can help. Often, the most practical support you can get is from other people living with diabetes. Join a peer support group or an online community—find out where you can access peer support.

Write it down

Try writing down your feelings in a journal. This can be a powerful way of understanding and dealing with some of your emotions. You might surprise yourself with what you write down.

Talk to your family and friends

You don’t have to go through this alone. If you are comfortable talk to your friends or family. Sometimes just talking to somebody helps you see things in a new way. You can tell them that you are not looking for solutions, just a shoulder and an ear.

Talk to a health professional

If you’re struggling, it can help to be aware of your feelings and to address problems early. There are a range of health professionals who can help.

Your GP, endocrinologist or credentialled diabetes educator (CDE) can offer emotional support. Talk to them about how you’ve been feeling and coping with your diabetes.

You might need additional support from a psychologist or counsellor. Don’t be afraid to ask—many people with diabetes need the support of a psychologist.

The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) has developed a new fact sheet to help you talk to a psychologist or mental health professional about the challenges of managing diabetes.

Talk to us

A wide range of information and support is available through the NDSS to help you manage your diabetes. This includes information on diabetes management through the NDSS Helpline, website and social media. The information, services, and education programs available can help you stay on top of your diabetes. Call the NDSS Helpline today on 1800 637 700, visit ndss.com.au or stay in touch on facebook.com/TheNDSS and twitter.com/NDSS_AUS.