Depression and stress are daily occurrences for diabetes patients but support is lacking
More emotional support must be offered to people living with diabetes, a charity has warned.
Diabetes Scotland made the call as research shows people with the illness are twice as likely as the general population to suffer from depression but few get access to professional psychological support they need.
Access to support is one of the 15 “healthcare essentials” the charity says every person with diabetes should receive automatically on diagnosis.
Linda McGlynn, healthcare and patient engagement manager at Diabetes Scotland, said: “When you’re diagnosed with diabetes there is a huge focus on ensuring that you’re physically well and are receiving the health checks which will monitor your blood glucose levels, blood pressure and other physical indicators.
Coping with the condition every hour of every day can be stressful and overwhelming
“However, getting to grips with your diagnosis can take its emotional toll and it’s important that people receive the right support to ensure they have good mental health and can cope with the pressures and challenges of living with a long-term, life-changing condition.
“People with diabetes tell us that coping with their condition every hour of every day can be stressful and overwhelming.
“It can feel very isolating as so few people understand what it’s all about. But we know that getting the right emotional support can make a huge difference in improving people’s mental health as well as helping improve their physical health outcomes.”
As well as increased rates of depression, levels of anxiety and eating disorders are also significantly higher among people with diabetes.
All of these conditions can lead to poorer diabetes self-care which can, in turn, lead to an increased risk of serious complications such as blindness, stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and amputation.
This means that giving more people access to appropriate emotional support could help the NHS save money by helping people to self-manage and reduce their risk of complications.
McGlynn added: “GPs should consider the emotional needs of people with diabetes as part of their overall personal care planning.
"They should ask people how they are feeling so they can pave the way to professional psychological support when they need it.
"But for this to happen it is important that appropriate psychological support services are commissioned and available to everyone who needs them, no matter where in Scotland they live."
Diabetes Scotland runs Careline Scotland which people can get in touch with if they have any questions related to diabetes.