A national charity has launched a “mood tool” to help nurses and others discuss emotional issues with diabetes patients who may be feeling low or depressed.
Diabetes UK said it was designed to prompt conversation between clinicians and those who may be feeling anxious about their condition and future wellbeing.
“This focus on psychological wellbeing can help a person manage their condition”
Research suggests depression may be twice as common in people with diabetes yet a survey by Diabetes UK found less than one in four have access to appropriate emotional and psychological support.
Depression may be trigged by being newly diagnosed with diabetes, the daily responsibility of managing the condition and fear of complications caused by diabetes such as blindness and amputation, said the charity.
The one-page mood tool – called the Diabetes and Mood Information Prescription – helps nurses and others get people talking about how they feel, how best to manage their diabetes and practical ways to feel more positive about living with the condition.
It includes a description of the key signs of anxiety or depression for clinicians to look out for.
“Mood information prescriptions are breaking down the barriers”
Dr Paul Newman, who sits on Diabetes UK’s council of healthcare professionals, is among those who tested the tool during a pilot phase.
He said he had found it to be a useful way of guiding conversations about emotional issues – the type of conversations some healthcare professionals can find tricky.
“Mood information prescriptions are breaking down the barriers and acting as a very effective conduit in allowing patients to discuss their feelings,” he said. “This is leading to treatment of their low mood, often for the first time.”
Diabetes UK senior healthcare engagement officer Louise Cripps said the tool should help healthcare professional provide psychological support that was “vital for many people living with diabetes”.
“We want this tool to initiate a conversation about emotions and encourage a person with diabetes to think about what they can do to improve their mood,” she said.
She added: “Initiating such conversations can be difficult but this focus on psychological wellbeing can help a person manage their condition, minimise their risk of developing serious complications and can lead to better clinical outcomes for their diabetes.”