This Diabetes Week, Diabetes UK Northern Ireland is shining a spotlight on mental health and its relationship with diabetes. Diabetes is relentless and for people living with the condition their physical health and mental health go hand in hand. As part of this awareness, we want to talk about the added pressure of living through the menopause while also living with diabetes.
The charity is hosting events throughout Diabetes Week to tackle the stigma and misunderstanding of issues such as disordered eating and how diabetes affects women going through the menopause.
Dawn Adams from Dromore has been living with type 1 diabetes for 28 years and is really passionate about how the health priorities of people living with diabetes change throughout their life and how support needs to adapt to reflect those changes.
Dawn said, “I have been living with type 1 diabetes for so long and have had to manage it throughout all the ups and downs that life throws at each of us. But there are times that we need more support. I have noticed how little we talk about menopause in general, but especially for women living with diabetes.”
“Menopause is often seen as something women have to just get on with. But no one talks about it and what “just getting on with it” means. More and more people are understanding what mental health is by talking about it. I hope that menopause will follow suit so we can get comfortable talking about it to help others. We need to recognise the on-going health needs and extra support we might need when managing our lifelong conditions alongside other health events in our lives.
“I am really excited to be involved in this session about the menopause and hopefully we can make the case for further understanding and support. There is a lot of material available about pregnancy and diabetes. It would be amazing to have similar resources available for coping with variability in their blood glucose in menopause. This would mean women don’t feel so alone when faced with this new stage in their life.”
Diabetes UK Northern Ireland is hosting a Zoom session on the menopause and diabetes on Thursday 17 June with researchers and local experts. They are encouraging women who live with diabetes to join the conversation.
Tina McCrossan, National Director at Diabetes UK Northern Ireland, said, “People living with diabetes often feel that their condition is completely misunderstood and its demands on their life are underestimated. This can make them feel invisible and going through the menopause can have that same effect.
“Engaging with the diabetes community, we are told repeatedly about the need for mental health support and treatment required for the very specific needs of diabetes. Sadly, this care is still missing for many people, so we are using Diabetes Week to highlight these important issues and provide the most up to date insights from research. We're also offering peer support and an opportunity to be part of this much needed conversation. Please register online for our Zoom sessions on disordered eating, menopause and mindfulness’
Join our Zoom sessions
Diabetes Week runs from 14 – 20 June and the events include these Zoom sessions:
- Disordered Eating - Tuesday 15 June, 7.30pm-8.30pm
Hear from Diabetes UK researchers on this topic and what support is available locally. You can register online.
- Diabetes and the Menopause – Thursday 17 June, 7.30pm-8.30pm
Join our guest speakers including local experts, to discuss the menopause and how it impacts diabetes management. There will also be an opportunity to highlight what is still needed in terms of care and support. You can register online.
- Lunch time Mindfulness session - Thursday 17th June, 12.30pm
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on or being aware of what you are sensing and how you are feeling in the moment.
It can be helpful at a time like this to take time to take a breath and ground yourself. You will learn a variety of mindfulness techniques and ways of relaxing so even if some of them don’t suit you hopefully you will find something that works for you. Much like exercise, mindfulness is something that gets better and more effective with practice. Register here. You must be over the age of 18 to attend the session.