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Supporting the relationship between mind and body 

mind-bodyWhen it comes to talking about diabetes and its impact on someone’s life, most of what we are taught is based on how it can affect the body, diabetes related complications and how to best manage it from a physical perspective.

Most advice is focused on what lifestyle changes need to be made, when and how to take medication, and what symptoms to keep an eye out for. These are all important and key to managing diabetes.

Managing diabetes can be challenging

A person with diabetes needs to understand the physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of themselves. These are all closely connected to our mental process of thoughts, emotions, beliefs and behaviours. That’s why we need to talk about and be aware of how someone is coping mentally. The mind is central to all that we are and all that we do.

Reacting to the diagnosis

Being diagnosed with diabetes is a difficult time in any person’s life. After the diagnosis common emotions are grief, denial, anxiety, depression, shame and guilt, along with many other feelings and thoughts.

It is normal to feel upset as the news of the diagnosis starts to set in.

For some, the diagnosis can come as a shock and may lead to feeling of denial

Denial can be unsafe, as it may result in someone ignoring their medication plan, make unhealthy lifestyle choices or simply ignore health symptoms as they arise. Anxiety is both common at the time of diagnosis and also throughout someone’s lifetime of living with diabetes. Anxiety can be brought on by worrying about the future, thinking about the “what if’s” and the financial, social and practical effects of living with diabetes.

Also common is depression, a taxing response to a life long illness

Depression can happen not long after being diagnosed with diabetes or can be delayed until well after; sometimes after the full reality of the condition really hits someone between the eyes.

Depression can worsen diabetes management, as it can make it harder to monitor blood glucose levels, take medication as required, eat well (which may include learning new ways of eating) and exercise. Only one in three people with diabetes affected by depression are formally diagnosed and get the help they need, which is a concerning statistic.

The warning signs

How can you tell if you or someone you love may be struggling with a level of anxiety, depression or stress?

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Large or unusual changes in behaviour
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Jumping to negative conclusions
  • Intrusive worrying (including worrying at night and not sleeping)
  • Seem less happy, more irritable, low tolerance
  • Finding it hard to concentrate and breathe
  • Sense of hopelessness or helplessness; suicidal thoughts or thoughts of death being a solution to the situation
  • Low motivation and energy
  • Lose interest in activities that are pleasant, fun, social or healthy (e.g. exercise, sex, hobbies, spending time with friends)
  • Feel down, may think “What’s the point?”
  • Trouble getting out of bed
  • Not involved in self-care behaviours

If you notice these signs and symptoms in yourself or someone you care about, speak up and get help.

It can be dangerous to ignore it or think ‘toughen up’.

It is important to seek professional help, speak to your doctor, or find a good health psychologist.

Ways to protect your psychological health – Miriam’s top tips

  • Accept the situation and commit to making the best of it
  • Build a positive, resilient & proactive mindset
  • Foster good working relationships with health care providers
  • Have strong social support
  • Create a sense of control over managing your diabetes and own health behaviours
  • Explore a personal, deeper or spiritual meaning to your health.

Old world vs new world

The old world is how you were before diabetes, and the new world is how you are now. It doesn’t help to measure yourself now by what you were like before you had diabetes. It is better to accept your new reality and work with it.

Say to yourself “This is my new world, my reality, and I’m going to work with it as best I can.”

Learn to relax

A lot of research has been done in recent years on mind-body techniques that simulate what’s known as the ‘Relaxation Response’, which is the key to undoing the damage that stress can do and promote healing.

Try things like:

  • Mindfulness or meditation
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  • Gentle exercise (e.g. yoga, walking)
  • Listening to music
  • Massage, have a bath etc.

Make things manageable

  • Break activities you have to do (e.g. shopping, housework) down into steps or smaller chunks
  • Tackle the chunks or steps one at a time
  • Start with the easier tasks and then move on to harder ones
  • Be realistic; allow more time to do things
  • Allow yourself to feel pleased about what you have achieved


Being physically active is a proven way to improve both your mood your diabetes management.

Stay connected

Human contact, loving support and even pets can make a big difference.

Managing diabetes as well as all of the other stresses of life is hard, but not impossible

Recognise the signs or symptoms of depression, anxiety or stress; don’t ignore them. Nurture your protective factors. Accept the reality of your new world, and work with it. Engage in helpful strategies that support both good mental health and diabetes care.

Read the original article

Click here to read the original article. Published in Diabetes SA Living Magazine – November 2016, page 30; Author: Miriam Henke, MAPS, M Psych (Health)

Additional information



World Health Day 2017

Depression, let's talk

depressionWorld Health Day is observed on 7 April and this year is focused on discussing the impact of depression.

The World Health Organisation issued a media release, stating that depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives.

The campaign essentials include factsheets, posters, statements and videos. Click here to find out more.

We encourage everyone to join in and start the conversation in your family and community. Follow Diabetes SA on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.

Diabetes and emotional well-being 

Did you know?

  • Almost one in five Australian adults will be affected by mental illness each year.
  • The risk of depression is doubled in people with diabetes.
  • Teenagers and the elderly with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing depression.
  • Emotional well-being is an essential part of living a healthy life and managing diabetes.
  • The everyday demands of managing diabetes can impact on a person's emotional well-being, which may lead to diabetes related distress, diabetes burnout or depression.

Supporting people living with diabetes

Diabetes SA provides a range of information resources for people with diabetes to help them learn how diabetes can affect their emotional well-being and what support services there are available.

Click here to find out more. 

Diabetes and psychological well-being

In the 'Understanding Diabetes Complications' webcast, recorded as part of National Diabetes Week seminar, Miriam Henke, a Psychologist, presented some very important information about diabetes and psychological well-being. Miriam discussed diabetes and grief, anxiety, depression, shame and guilt, the pressure of diabetes self-management and the support that is available to people living with diabetes and these issues.

Click here to visit the Online Learning Platform and view all recorded segments.

Click here to find out about Supporting the relationship between mind and body, an article written by Miriam Henke, a Health Psychologist, originally published in Living Magazine — November 2016.


Peer support is an effective supplement to health professional support; there is strong evidence to indicate that peer support can improve mental health and well-being outcomes for people with diabetes.

The NDSS (National Diabetes Services Scheme) developed the following resources:

  • Diabetes and Emotional Health: A handbook and toolkit for health professionals supporting adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • Emotional health and diabetes information fact sheets
  • Diabetes peer support in Australia: A national survey report

Click here to find out more.

Also available are:

Additional information



Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) now available for children and young people with type 1 diabetes on the NDSS

Want to know more? — CGM Weekly Webinar

Want to know whether Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) might be beneficial for your child with type 1 diabetes?

Diabetes Australia is running a series of free webinars every week throughout April and May to provide information about the benefits of CGM and the Australian Government’s new subsidy for a range of CGM products which can be accessed through the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS).

The Australian Government has just committed to the most significant investment in type 1 technology in over a decade.

Over four years, $54 million will be provided to subsidised CGM technology to assist children and young people under 21 years of age who face extra challenges managing their type 1 diabetes.

Cheryl Steele, credentialled diabetes educator, will explain CGM technology available under the NDSS, followed by a presentation by Renza Scibilia, Manager - Type 1 Diabetes and Consumer Voice at Diabetes Australia. Renza will provide detailed answers on the Government’s new CGM initiative. There will also be a Q&A at the end of the webinar.

The first webinar is on Thursday 6 April 2017 at 6.15pm - 7.00pm AEST

Click here to register for the webinar.


The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) is an initiative of the Australian Government administered with the assistance of Diabetes Australia.


BAPS Walkathon

Raising funds for Diabetes SA

On Saturday morning a number of Diabetes SA staff joined in the fundraiser Walkathon organised by BAPS.

Our president Peter Crouch opened the walk after thanking the organisers. The walk was a lovely 7 km stroll around the Torrens river.

Team Diabetes SA put in a sterling effort, all completing the walk with smiles on their faces!

The initiative has raised over $10,000 so far

The funds will be put towards the purchase of a device to measure HbA1c's (The HbA1c is a test that shows an average of blood glucose levels over three months).

Thank you for your support

Thank you to all the walkers – Fiona and her family members, Angelique and Grace, Mandy, Ciara and her team of supporters (please pass on our thanks), Daniela and Kimberley.

We also had a member of Diabetes SA – Darryl – who raised over $1000; Darryl walked with a number of his family members.

Diabetes SA would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the BAPS Walkathon organisers and participants, who made this event such a fantastic success.

  • Click here to see photos from the 2017 BAPS Walkathon.





Additional information


Recall for product correction

Accu-Chek® Connect diabetes management app – Bolus Advisor function

Important information on the Accu-Chek® Connect diabetes management app: Potential for inaccurate bolus insulin advice in app versions 2.0.0, 2.0.1, 2.1.0 (iOS & Android) – Discontinue use of the bolus advisor function on the app. All other functions on the app can still be used.

Click here for the letter from Roche for Customers.

Contact the Accu-Chek Enquiry Line on 1800 251 816 if you require additional information.


Access to Continuous Glucose Monitoring products through the NDSS

The Australian Government is now providing access to fully subsidised continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) products through the NDSS.

Subsidised access to these products is open to children and young people aged under 21 years, living with type 1 diabetes, who face significant challenges in managing their blood glucose levels.

Providing access to subsidised CGM products may assist families, children and young people to better manage their diabetes, which may reduce stress, anxiety and unscheduled visits to the hospital.

More information

  • More information on the CGM initiative can be found on the NDSS CGM page, click here. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.
  • Visit the Department of Health's website, click here.


The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) is an initiative of the Australian Government administered with the assistance of Diabetes Australia.


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