GPs Encouraged to Address Psychosocial Needs of those Living with Diabetes

By Petrina Smith
Tuesday, 22 July, 2014



diabetes signAustralians living with diabetes are not getting the mental and emotional health support they need from the health care practitioners and are struggling in silence, according to a Diabetes NSW member survey.
Diabetes NSW is urging healthcare professionals (HCPs) to discuss the psychosocial support available to patients living with diabetes following the findings drawn from the survey. Of the more than  500 Diabetes NSW members who were contacted, an alarming 98 per cent were not including their mental or emotional health in their personal diabetes management plans, and nine in 10 had not spoken to their GP about seeing a  sychologist/psychiatrist.

With the stress involved with the day-to-day management of diabetes found to cause depression, anxiety and distress for those living with the condition, it is no surprise six in 10 HCPs acknowledge there is a need for improved psychosocial support for diabetes patients.
“The link between diabetes and depression is well known, and a diabetes diagnosis can be hard, even frightening for the person affected, and the role of GPs and primary healthcare professionals in the holistic management of their diabetes patients cannot be overstated,” said Diabetes NSW CEO Sturt Eastwood.
“And while many healthcare professionals may be having conversations with their patients about the psychosocial support available to them when they are first diagnosed, many of their diabetes patients may not be in the right frame of mind to digest this information initially.”
Australians with diabetes are able to access Medicare funded appointments with a counsellor provided they have a referral from their GP.
Information sheets  on the topic of diabetes and a healthy mind can be downloaded at  http://australiandiabetescouncil.com/daw/2014 
Healthcare practitioners can also refer patients who would like to speak with an expert to the Diabetes NSW toll free line on 1300 342 238.

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