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Diabetes and mental health: Call out for examples of best practice

The number of people living with diabetes is rising fast. Every day, around 700 people are diagnosed with the condition. That’s one person every two minutes. It’s potentially the most devastating health crisis of our time.

Diabetes can affect all aspects of someone’s life and we know that people with diabetes experience disproportionately high rates of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

Our partner, Diabetes UK, recently held a nationwide conversation with over 9,000 people affected by diabetes and used this insight to produce ‘the future of diabetes’ report which outlines what must change in order to create a better future for everyone living with the condition.

The report makes it clear that, as well as more understanding and awareness of diabetes, there are a number of ways we, the NHS, can make it easier to live with diabetes in the future. One of these is providing more support for emotional and psychological health.

As part of the wealth of invaluable work being done here at the NHS Diabetes Programme to improve outcomes for people with diabetes, we recognise that managing an invisible condition can be exhausting and isolating and appropriate mental health support for people with diabetes plays a crucial role in good diabetes management. We have a responsibility now to look into the provision of mental health support for those with diabetes to ensure that is it fit for purpose.

Following on from a successful national event where key stakeholders in diabetes care came together to discuss this important issue, the NHS Diabetes Programme team, in conjunction with the mental health team, are now exploring best practice in mental health support for those with diabetes with the view to ensure uniform access to appropriate services across England.

As part of this piece of work, we have embarked upon a call out to the entire healthcare community in search of examples of best practice from within the NHS that we can learn from, emulate or adapt to form part of a national template.

Help us improve mental health support for people with diabetes!

If you have an example of good mental health support in diabetes care, for different levels and types of mental health need, please email us with a summary of the service(s) at england.diabetestreatment@nhs.net.

Your examples will help to shape the conversation around diabetes and mental health and hopefully improve provision of mental health support across the country. A working group will evaluate the examples that we receive and use the insight gained from those to create a template of care which will address current issues in mental health support for people with diabetes.

We really look forward to hearing from you.

Partha Kar

Dr Partha Kar has been a Consultant in Diabetes & Endocrinology at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust since 2008. He has been the Clinical Director of Diabetes from 2009-2015, being part of a multiple national award-winning department (HSJ Awards/BMJ Awards) due to its services and care provided.

One of his main areas or passion is in helping to redesign diabetes care in an attempt to integrate chronic disease management across primary and secondary care. He is the pioneer of the Super Six Diabetes Model which aims to deliver diabetes care differently. He is an avid user of social media such as Twitter (@parthaskar) to engage with patients – and been recognised as a “Social media Pioneer” by HSJ in 2014. Recent innovations have involved the Hypoglycaemia Hotline, which was recognised in the Guardian Healthcare Awards 2013.

He is also the co-creator of TAD talks (Talking About Diabetes) and the Type 1 Diabetes comic (“Origins”) – while also involved in setting up a Type 1 Diabetes information portal (T1resources.uk)

He is also Associate National Clinical Director, Diabetes with NHS England leading on digital innovation.

Follow Partha on Twitter: @parthaskar

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One comment

  1. Emma Holland says:

    Bloomin good on yer mate ! So needed in whatever area of diabetes care in where ever country ! Thanks for bringing it to attention, Emma DSN / CDE nurse navigator from Australia 👍🏼