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New diabetes and mood tool for clinicians

Diabetes UK has just launched a new tool for healthcare professionals to support people with diabetes feeling emotionally low or depressed.

Unlike conversations that are solely medical in nature, emotional issues can feel less manageable to clinicians. TheMood Information Prescription (PDF 38KB) helps generate a structured conversation between a healthcare professional and a person with diabetes who may be feeling anxious or fearful about their condition.

The one-page document aims to enable a person with diabetes to talk about how they feel, manage their diabetes well and find practical ways to feel more positive about living with their condition.

Depression is twice as common in people with diabetes, yet less than one in four people with diabetes have access to appropriate emotional and psychological support. Depression may be triggered by the impact of being newly diagnosed with diabetes, the daily responsibility of managing the condition and/or the fear of complications caused by diabetes such as blindness and amputation.

Dr Paul Newman, who sits on Diabetes UK’s Council of Healthcare Professionals and is a Diabetes UK Clinical Champion, has been successfully prescribing the 'Diabetes and Mood Information Prescription' during its pilot phase and has found it to be a useful tool to guide conversations with patients relating to emotional issues and managing their condition. He said:

"Mood information prescriptions are breaking down the barriers and acting as a very effective conduit in allowing patients to discuss their feelings. This is leading to treatment of their low mood, often for the first time.”

Diabetes UK Senior Healthcare Engagement Officer Louise Cripps said: "The Diabetes and Mood Information Prescription helps healthcare professionals provide psychological support to patients which is vital for many people living with diabetes. We want this new tool to initiate a conversation about emotions and encourage a person with diabetes to think about what they can do to improve their mood. Initiating such conversations can be difficult but this focus on psychological wellbeing can help a person manage their condition, minimise their risk of developing serious complications and can lead to better clinical outcomes for their diabetes."

The Mood Information Prescription provides:

  • A description of the key signs of depression/anxiety to look for in a person
  • Advice and tips about how a person can start to feel better
  • A ‘My Next Steps’ section to encourage goal setting
  • A signpost to Diabetes UK Careline Service and further information.

The Diabetes and Mood Information Prescription has been developed in collaboration with people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and Health Care Professionals including psychologists and a psychiatrist.

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