People living with diabetes encouraged to share their experience

Managing diabetes impacts the emotional and mental health of patients and their families at a time they are coping with the effects of the illness itself. 

As part of Diabetes Week 2019, NHS England in the West Midlands is raising awareness of life with diabetes by encouraging more patients to share their stories and support the national Diabetes UK  campaign #SeeDiabetesDifferently. 

Recent research from Diabetes UK highlights how one in three people who are living with diabetes say that their condition got in the way of them or a family member doing things they wanted to do. Three in five people report they often or sometimes feel down because of their diabetes.

This week NHS England will be sharing patient stories from people who are living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes using the hashtag #diabetesandme that showcase how the NHS is supporting them to live healthy lives.  

For example, 19 year old Scarlett from Warwickshire, who  featured in a film made last year by South Warwickshire Clinical Comissioning Group to raise awareness of  Type 1 diabetes. Scarlett shared her thoughts and experiences of what it’s like to live with diabetes in a series of videos that were shared on social media.

Professor Vinod Patel, West Midlands Clinical Lead for NHS England (Midlands) for Diabetes, said:

“I see the impact of diabetes on people’s emotional and mental health. 

“I try to encourage my patients to adopt a simple care plan. Getting people to focus on learning to manage the things they can control themselves whilst supporting them with the right medication to suit their lifestyle.”

David Spraggett, Chair of NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“It’s important that we continue to work on raising awareness of diabetes. Our work last year with Scarlett helped promote awareness to a younger audience and helped start a conversation about what it’s like to live with diabetes.

“It’s a very common condition and one that can have series consequences if not managed correctly. Luckily, diabetes can be managed successfully and education courses are helping patients to achieve this.”

The NHS in England is investing in three main work streams as part of the commitment set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. It seeks to support the treatment and care of people living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.  There is also significant investment in the prevention of Type 2 diabetes through the use of digital technology and interventions.

Structured education programmes delivered by NHS health professionals are offered to every patient within the first 12 months of being diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. The 12 week course helps people who are living with diabetes to understand the health risks associated with their condition, advice on healthy eating, education on how to read food labels and information about how to seek further support and advice.

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