I'm backing calls from leading charity Diabetes UK to create new national standards for emotional and mental health support for people with diabetes, and to increase support available locally for people living with diabetes in Mansfield and Warsop.
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.
I 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.
It’s great that Diabetes UK has taken the time to highlight the impact that diabetes can have on mental health and I’ve signed their cross-party letter calling on the Government to take action in this area. I’ve had correspondence with several constituents across Mansfield and Warsop about how diabetes affects their lives and I am pleased to have the opportunity to support this national campaign.
I’m really proud that the Conservatives are working hard to help end the stigma surrounding mental health, however, there is still more that we can do. I hope that the Government looks at the ways in which we can improve diabetes care and ensure that emotional and psychological support is provided to help people improve both their physical and mental health. This will help reduce pressure on services, and save the NHS money in the long run.
You can read the cross-party letter below:
We, the undersigned cross-party group of MPs, are writing to voice our support for Diabetes UK’s ‘It’s Missing’ campaign and to urge government action in this area.
Diabetes is much more than a physical condition. There are 4.7 million people living with diabetes in the UK today and, for them, diabetes doesn’t stop. It means checks and decisions every single day. And there’s tomorrow, next week, next year. With diabetes, getting through each day is a challenge and this can have a serious impact on emotional and psychological wellbeing. A recent study of 2,000 people found that 7 out of 10 feel overwhelmed by the demands of their condition. At least four in ten people with diabetes experience mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and diabetes distress.
In diabetes, mental and physical health have a two-way relationship. While the demands of living with the condition can affect how people feel; struggling emotionally can make it even more difficult to keep on top of self-management. And when diabetes is poorly managed, the risk of dangerous complications increases.
The right support can help people better manage this relentless and isolating condition. Evidence shows that psychological care for people with diabetes can benefit both mental and physical outcomes, reduce pressure on services, and save money.
All too often support for mental health isn’t there. Mental health isn’t understood as a vital part of diabetes management and it isn’t integrated into care for people affected by diabetes. The research from Diabetes UK is stark. More than three-quarters of people with diabetes are not offered mental health support when they need it. Only 30 per cent of GPs felt there is enough mental health support for people living with diabetes. The lack of support to cope with the demand of diabetes is leaving constituents of ours and others across the UK feeling forgotten, isolated and alone.
With increasing numbers of our constituents, representing all corners of the UK, living with or at risk of developing diabetes, there is real and urgent need for change. Diabetes UK’s report is clear that in some parts of the country the right services do exist and have been shown to improve care. We need these services to be available for everyone living with diabetes so no one feels forgotten, isolated or alone. We support the call for all health services in the UK to create national standards for diabetes and emotional and mental health support so:
· Everyone should be asked how they are feeling as part of every diabetes appointment.
· A mental health professional with knowledge of diabetes should be part of every diabetes care team.
It is clear that in areas where emotional and mental health support is part of diabetes care, people living with diabetes manage their condition better. We’d be grateful you could outline how the government plans to address the concerns detailed in Diabetes UK’s report.