Emotional issues

The link between diabetes and depression is well documented. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have published comprehensive guidance on the assessment and treatment of adults with depression, and this includes those with a long-term physical health problem, including diabetes.

The impact

Being diagnosed and living with diabetes can affect people in very different ways. While some may find coping with diabetes has very little impact on day-to-day life, others may find that it has turned their lives upside down. Finding diabetes difficult to cope with does not mean that you are doing something wrong. Many people with diabetes who we speak to feel that at some point in their lives, their diabetes causes them to feel like they are not coping. Many feel alone.

Emotional support

The physical impact of diabetes is well reported but the emotional impact is still not always recognised. Diabetes can have an emotional impact, especially around diagnosis, starting insulin, and on developing complications. Many people find their own personal way to deal with these feelings, but for some they continue to struggle to come to terms with how their diabetes makes them feel. For some people with diabetes these feelings can develop into depression. Although people with diabetes have a higher chance of showing signs of depression, not all people with diabetes who are finding it challenging develop depression.

Diabetes UK confidential Helpline is staffed by trained counsellors who have extensive knowledge of diabetes. They can provide information about the condition, take time to talk things through and explore emotional, social, psychological or practical difficulties.


To speak with a counsellor face-to-face then the best route to take would probably be to go through your GP. Many general practices will have counselling services attached to them, and if not then they may be able to refer you elsewhere. You can also look for a counsellor privately; Counselling Directory is particularly useful for voluntary sector organisations offering free or low-cost counselling, and private group practices.

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
BACP House,
15 St John's Business Park,
Lutterworth LE17 4HB
Tel: 0870 443 5252
Fax: 0870 443 5161