Robin Walker MP is backing calls from leading charity Diabetes UK to create new national standards for diabetes emotional and mental health support, and to increase support available locally to the 18,161 people living with diabetes in the area. 

Recently published research from the charity revealed that the relentless nature of diabetes can impact people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health, ranging from day-to-day frustration and low mood, to specific psychological and mental health difficulties such as clinical depression and anxiety.

The findings, published in the report “Too often missing: Making emotional and psychological support routine in diabetes care”, show that diabetes is much more than a physical condition. Robin joined Diabetes UK at a Parliamentary event, as the charity launched its campaign to make the emotional and psychological demands of living with diabetes recognised and provide the right support to everyone who needs it.

Diabetes UK is urgently calling on the NHS to create national standards for diabetes emotional and mental health services. These should ensure that everyone receives joined up care, that they are asked how they are feeling as part of every diabetes appointment, and that a mental health professional with knowledge of diabetes is part of every diabetes care team.

In support of the campaign, Robin said:

“The demands of living with diabetes affect people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing, but mental health support is often missing from diabetes care. And when diabetes cannot be well managed, the risk of dangerous complications increases.

We need diabetes care that includes emotional and psychological support to help people improve both their physical and mental health, reduce pressure on services, and ultimately save the NHS money.”

“I know from constituents the great anguish which can be caused when proper treatment is not available in a timely manner and I hope that we can ensure support and treatment is available when needed.”

Diabetes UK has launched a petition to call for national standards for diabetes mental health support and services. To find out more about the campaign and sign the petition go to www.diabetes.org.uk/missing

ENDS

Notes to editors

For further media information please contact Emma Edwards on (0)1376 505243 or Diabetes UK’s media relations team on 020 7424 1165 or email pressteam@diabetes.org.uk. For urgent out of hours media enquiries only please call 077 111 76028.

1.   Diabetes UK’s aim is creating a world where diabetes can do no harm. Diabetes is the most devastating and fastest growing health crisis of our time, affecting more people than any other serious health condition in the UK – more than dementia and cancer combined. There is currently no known cure for any type of diabetes. With the right treatment, knowledge and support people living with diabetes can lead a long, full and healthy life. For more information about diabetes and the charity’s work, visit www.diabetes.org.uk  

2.   Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of preventable sight loss in people of working age in the UK and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke. 

3.   People with Type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin. About 8 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 1. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it’s not to do with being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable. It’s the most common type of diabetes in children and young adults, starting suddenly and getting worse quickly. Type 1 diabetes is treated by daily insulin doses – taken either by injections or via an insulin pump. It is also recommended to follow a healthy diet and take regular physical activity.

4.   People with Type 2 diabetes don’t produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce doesn’t work properly (known as insulin resistance). Around 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2. They might get Type 2 diabetes because of their family history, age and ethnic background puts them at increased risk. They are also more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if they are overweight. It starts gradually, usually later in life, and it can be years before they realise they have it. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition, tablets and/or insulin can be required. 

5.   About 2 per cent of people have other types of diabetes. Other types include 11 different forms of monogenic diabetes, cystic fibrosis related diabetes and diabetes caused by rare syndromes. Certain medication such as steroids and antipsychotics, surgery or hormonal imbalances could also lead to other types of diabetes.