The Diabetes Team understands that living with a lifelong condition like diabetes can be difficult.
It has an impact on your emotional wellbeing.
At times, people can feel overwhelmed by the demands of trying to look after themselves, and the demands of life in general.
To make things more complicated, people with diabetes are often trying to change the way they have lived their lives for a long time. That’s not easy for anyone.
Please see the useful resources section for a list of support around mental health and wellbeing. Sometimes, additional input is needed; this is where the Clinical Health Psychology Service might be helpful.
A Clinical Psychologist provides direct input to the Diabetes Team, to provide relatively short-term support for people struggling with some aspect of diabetes. It is designed to support you with how things are for you right now, and to help you to find ways to make your life better.
Some common emotional difficulties experienced by people with diabetes include ‘diabetes burnout’ (low mood and fatigue associated with the condition), frustration or anger, sleep difficulties, problems with eating, difficulties adjusting to life with physical symptoms, and barriers to self-care (including taking insulin, or checking blood glucose).
In Clinical Health Psychology, we offer a range of evidence-based psychological therapies on a 1:1 basis. This is different to other forms of mental health support, such as counselling and Psychiatry. Clinical Psychologists use a talking approach to consider how biology (glucose fluctuations for example), cognition (thinking) and social circumstances (your family life for example) inform patterns of diabetes self-care. This is a structured process which might include understanding past and present life experiences.
There are different approaches which have been shown to be helpful to individuals with persistent health conditions. After an initial assessment appointment and agreeing together that psychological therapy is appropriate, the Clinical Psychologist will discuss with you what might meet your needs best. Here are some examples of the different therapies offered, and how they work:
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) explores how a person thinks, feels and what they do in relation to diabetes self-care. Fears about hypos and diabetes related complications can lead to stress and burnout. CBT skills help to manage unhelpful predictions about the future.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) promotes being open, present and doing what matters. This can be a challenge, as people often limit their behaviour (avoiding insulin administration for example), ruminate on the past, and struggle to see a healthy future. ACT skills teach how to accept and live with diabetes, rather than fight against it.
- Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) uses skills to help develop the capacity to experience warmth, safeness and to self-soothe when distressed. This can support better diabetes self-care, particularly in people who very self-critical about their blood glucose readings for example.
We provide input to the Scottish Type 1 Education Programme (STEP) group for people newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. This focuses on the psychological aspects of diagnosis, including adjustment and wellbeing. This is offered alongside education from other members of the diabetes team.
The first appointment lasts about 50 minutes. At the end of this time, we’ll agree if this is the right format of support, at the right time for you. This might not be the best option as there may be another service that better suits your needs.
After the first appointment, if we decide to keep meeting, we’ll agree some goals for us to work toward, and to guide our time together. Different people have different goals for input, for example:
- Manage stress and worries about the future
- Improve confidence in adapting to changes around condition progression
- Develop coping strategies in response to difficult emotions
- Find ways to engage with self-care tasks such as physical activity, food intake and taking medication
We meet with people for an average of 8, 1:1 sessions every fortnight. This is flexible, depending on individual need. There will usually be some reading, writing or skill to practice in between sessions. The effectiveness of psychological therapy is associated with consistent attendance at appointments and practice. You can decide that this service isn’t for you at any time.
Tel: 01324 614 387
Opening Hours: 8.30am-4.30pm Monday-Friday
If you are concerned about yourself or somebody being at immediate risk of harm, contact either your local GP surgery, NHS 24 (dial 111), or go to your nearest Emergency Department.
If you are seeking immediate help, use one of the above options, or contact a counsellor at Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87), or the Samaritans (08457 90 90 90).
- Diabetes UK – Emotional support and advice for individuals with diabetes, including a helpline and online forum.
Tel: 0141 212 8710 (Mon – Fri 9am – 6pm)
- Pain Concern – Advice and support for those struggling with chronic pain.
Tel: 0300 123 0789 (Mon 2-4pm, Fri 10am – 12 noon, 2pm – 4pm)
- Carers Centres – Information and support to carers of all ages.
Falkirk and Clackmannanshire
- Breathing Space – Telephone counselling; calls are confidential.
Tel: 0800 83 85 87 Open 24h at week-ends (Fri 6pm – Mon 6am)
- Headspace – Online meditation and mindfulness courses to help alleviate emotional distress.
- Living Life to the Full – Online life skills course
- Beating the Blues – Online CBT programme that can be accessed through GP.
- NHS Inform – Self-help guides for both physical and mental health can be found at NHS Inform.