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Two thirds people with diabetes in Northern Ireland experience emotional or mental health problems

New research from Diabetes UK finds more than two thirds of people living with diabetes experience emotional or mental health problems.


In one of the largest surveys carried out by Diabetes UK, 226 people of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds from across Northern Ireland shared their experiences of living with diabetes today, and what their hopes and fears were for the future.

How diabetes affects emotional wellbeing stood out as a major factor for respondents, with (69 per cent) saying that they often or sometimes feel down because of their diabetes. One in two (50 per cent) said that diabetes got in the way of them or a family member doing things they wanted to do. Alarmingly only three in ten (30 per cent) said they definitely felt in control of their diabetes.

The research also found that 20 per cent of respondents had used support or counselling from a trained professional to help them manage their diabetes, and nearly 30 per cent had at some point relied on self-help materials including books, videos and resources found online.

The results of this research are included in Diabetes UK’s Future of Diabetes report, which is launching at an event today in Parliament Buildings, Stormont, to mark World Diabetes Day (14 November).

Jillian Patchett, Diabetes UK Northern Ireland National Director, said:

“Diabetes affects more than 100,000 people in Northern Ireland, and is the fastest-growing health crisis of our time. We know diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and lower limb amputations. This new research highlights the isolation that can come from managing an invisible condition, and the impact that living with diabetes can have on a person’s emotional well being if they don’t have the right support.  

“Effective diabetes care requires that a person’s emotional needs are taken into account alongside their physical needs. We want to see a system where specialist support – from people who understand diabetes – is made available to those who need it.

“In order to achieve that, we need to see sustained funding and support for the Diabetes Network in Northern Ireland, which sets out to improve the treatment and care for people with diabetes. It must remain focused on deliverable outcomes for people living with diabetes and help equip healthcare professionals to identify and provide help for the emotional impact of diabetes. Investing now will not only allow us to reap substantial financial and social benefits in the future, but more importantly it will help people to live well with diabetes today.”

Join us in our fight for a better future on World Diabetes Day


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