Diabetes and Mental Health

Whether you have been newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes or have been living with the condition for years, it’s normal to feel emotionally drained sometimes.1 This newsletter will focus on helping you to understand how diabetes can affect your mental health, and how you can learn to cope with some of the daily challenges of diabetes, allowing you to take control and live a healthier life.

Diabetes and Mental Health

How can Diabetes Affect Your Mental Health?

Living with diabetes can take a toll on your mental health and it’s normal to sometimes feel overwhelmed or tired of dealing with daily diabetes care. This is known as diabetes distress and can cause unhealthy habits, reduced checking of blood sugar readings, or even skipped appointments – all of which can be damaging to your physical and mental wellbeing.2

The good news is that you can take steps to improve your mental health and make your diabetes journey easier. Read more to find out how!

Coping Skills to Improve Your Mental Health

Living with diabetes isn’t just about managing the physical symptoms of diabetes. In the same way that you can take medication to control your blood glucose levels, there are a number of coping skills and applications that you can use to improve your mental health and reduce diabetes distress:3

  1. Pay attention to your feelings and ask for help: : prolonged stress and frustration may mean that you need more support with managing your diabetes. Try opening up to family or friends and reach out to your healthcare professional if you are in need of help. 

  2. Take time out for yourself: focus on one thing at a time, pace yourself with daily tasks and take time to do the things you enjoy - this can include going for a walk, meditating or starting a new hobby!

  3. Create a schedule that suits you: think about scenarios that you might find stressful and develop problem-solving strategies to help keep stress at bay.4 For example, if you are afraid of your blood sugar levels dipping at night, check your blood glucose level before going to sleep. Or if you get distracted and often miss taking your medication, organize all your diabetes supplies in one place so you have everything you need.
  4. Take back more control: when tackling the daily challenges of diabetes, there are simple steps you can use to help you feel more in control:5

    1. Describe the problem you are facing
    2. Make a list of practical solutions
    3. Choose a solution, try it, and see how it works out
    4. If it doesn’t work, choose another solution from the list until you find what works for you

We hope that you have found this newsletter helpful and informative. Stay tuned for our next newsletter focusing on Taking Control of Your Blood Glucose Monitoring.


1. American Diabetes Association. Understanding diabetes and mental health. https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/mental-health accessed January 11th 2021.

2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and Mental Health. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/mental-health.html accessed January 11th 2021.

3. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 10 tips for Coping with Diabetes Distress. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/diabetes-distress/ten-tips-coping-diabetes-distress.html

4. Hill-Briggs F. Problem solving. In: Mensing C, ed. The Art and Science of Diabetes Self-Management Education: A Desk Reference for Healthcare Professionals. Chicago, IL: American Association of Diabetes Educators; 2006:733.

5. AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors® PROBLEM SOLVING https://www.diabeteseducator.org/docs/default-source/living-with-diabetes/tip-sheets/aade7/aade7_problem_solving.pdf?sfvrsn=12 accessed January 11th 2021

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