Mental health and diabetes tackled at conference
During the week of World Mental Health Day the subject of mental health and diabetes was addressed at a special one-day event aimed at showcasing examples of good practice.
Diabetes: Mind over Matter was developed in response to an national and international awareness of a growing need for more input into mental health services and education in diabetes for people with the condition, healthcare professionals and NHS providers.
The event, which was organised and funded by Sanofi and held in conjunction with the DSN Forum and NHS England, took place on October 9 at BMA House in London, ahead of World Mental Health Day, which took place the following day.
It was put together by Dr Partha Kar, Consultant in Endocrinology Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and Associate National Clinical Director, Diabetes with NHS England, Amanda Epps, Diabetes Specialist Inpatient Nurse at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, and Sanofi.
Amanda said: “This conference has opened up the much needed conversation regarding mental health in diabetes care. The challenge now is to take forward what we have discussed today and develop multidisciplinary pathways that address the psychological side of diabetes. We cannot address physical health without mental health, diabetes care should be holistic to truly meet the needs of people with diabetes.”
Insights into mental health services for diabetes were shared, with views from people with diabetes and perspectives from healthcare professionals also given.
Consultant Diabetologist, Professor Richard Holt provided the diabetes specialist view, Professor Khalida Ishmail offered the psychiatrist viewpoint, Diabetes UK Chief Executive Chris Askew gave a patient organisation perspective and Dr Abbie Brookes GP York provided the GP perspective
Additionally, Jen Grieves delivered the perspective of someone living with diabetes. Writing on Twitter, she thanked the organisers for “starting the conversation” and said: “As a person with type 1, ##MMDiab18 is SO heartening. Healthcare professionals here who so WANT to focus on whole person care for people with D: emotional + psychological as well as biochemical.”
Methods of best practice for delivering these services were covered by a series of workshops in the afternoon. Ruth Miller, a Diabetes Nurse Consultant, from North West London, delivered the 10-point diabetes training for mental health workers and started by saying: “Listen to the person they live with diabetes 365 days a year”.