Mental health and diabetes care services ‘must be improved’
The risk of serious mental health problems and type 2 diabetes significantly impacts life expectancy and “must not be overlooked”, an NHS director has warned.
People who have bi-polar, depression or schizophrenia are at double the risk of developing other long-term conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Speaking during Mental Health Awareness Week, Anne Moore, Group Nurse Director for Safer Care at Northumberland Tyne and Wear (NTW) NHS Foundation Trust, warned healthcare professionals the risk factors are heightened by serious mental illness medication and lifestyle linked to mental health.
Ms Moore, who has been lined up to speak at the UK’s largest and free to attend diabetes conference Diabetes Professional Care 2018 (DPC2018), said: “Many healthcare professionals may not be aware that some mental illness treatments can create or increase major risk factors of rapid weight gain, hypertension and pancreatic dysfunction which can then lead to high levels of diabetes, as well as cardio metabolic risks.
“I don’t believe this is as widely understood across primary care and secondary acute and diabetes specialist teams as it should be. It’s a concern because life expectancy can be reduced by up to 20 years, so it must not be overlooked.
“I think the key is educating healthcare professionals who work within the diabetes field so they can know more about the impact of pharmacology and the challenges in managing mental health conditions alongside diabetes, which will ultimately improve outcomes for patients.
“In addition, by increasing the knowledge of effective care and treatment of diabetes for staff in mental health teams, we can provide patient-centred care.”
Within her trust, Ms Moore’s colleagues have identified some key areas which they believe will improve diabetes care.
These include collaborative and patient centred diabetes care planning, diabetes care and treatment awareness and targeted training for staff in mental health and those who have learning disabilities. It has also been suggested that specific pathways across acute and primary care services designed to support those with mental health issues who also have diabetes should also be introduced.
The team at NTW has led a series of initiatives within the trust to improve health outcomes and reduce early death among people who are affected by mental health or disability.
Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from Monday, May 14 until Sunday, May 20.
Anne Moore has been confirmed as a guest speaker at DPC2018, which, once again, will take place at London’s Olympia on 14 and 15 November.
The two-day CPD accredited conference invites delegates to attend presentations and workshops on a variety of topics, such as the childhood obesity strategy, type 2 diabetes reversal and diabetes burnouts.