Taking care of mental health  

Diabetes UK Northern Ireland is launching a mental health and emotional Wellbeing Programme for young people with Type 1 diabetes. 

Our Lives, Our Voices’ young leaders created the Wellbeing Programme to support others in gaining confidence and managing all aspects of their condition. Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund NI, the project aims to create a safe space where they can talk, learn and feel part of a community. 

The day-to-day aspects of diabetes management have a real impact on daily life, and young people are three times more likely to experience psychological problems than those without diabetes. Diabetes UK research revealed that the relentless nature of diabetes could impact people’s emotional, mental and psychological wellbeing and health. This can include day-to-day frustration and low mood, specific psychological and mental health difficulties such as clinical depression and anxiety. 

The charity also found that 7 out of 10 people living with diabetes feel overwhelmed by the everyday demands of the condition, which significantly affects their mental and physical health. The charity launched the It’s Missing campaign to highlight the need for emotional and mental health provision as part of diabetes care. 

Diabetes UK Assistant Director for Local Impact, Dr David Chaney, said, “This is a really exciting opportunity for young people in Northern Ireland living with Type 1 diabetes. We know that there is a real need for emotional and mental health support, and when you are living with the constant demands of Type 1 diabetes that support has been lacking. This programme changes this. We are so proud of the young leaders currently participating in the Our Lives, Our Voices project working in partnership to design the Wellbeing Programme, which will be delivered across all five Trusts in Northern Ireland. 

“Mental health has never had a bigger public profile, and it is timely that now the Our Lives, Our Voices programme will be made available to the local young Type 1 diabetes community. The constant finger-pricking, checking bloods, managing a relentless, lifelong condition, trying your best to live your life and balance all the demands of diabetes management can take its toll emotionally. Get in touch if you are aged 13-25 years – you are not alone, support is available, and together we will work towards a world where diabetes can do no harm.” 

This new programme is partnering with local mental health charities AWARE and Action Mental Health. If you are aged 13-25 years and living with Type 1 diabetes in Northern Ireland and want to find out more or take part in the Our Lives, Our Voices Wellbeing programme, contact OurLivesOurVoices@diabetes.org.uk or call Diabetes UK Northern Ireland on 028 9066 6646. 

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