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Improving support for people with mental illness & diabetes

Project summary

The psychosocial impact of diabetes and diabetes care provision for people with severe mental illness: a patient, carer and healthcare staff survey

Living with diabetes can have a real psychological impact on people, but very little is known about how much it affects people that are already living with a mental illness. This study will help us to understand the true impact of diabetes on people that have a mental illness, and identify better ways to support these individuals in the future.

Background to research

We know that having any form of diabetes can be a social and psychological burden, with research showing that some people have a poor quality of life and higher levels of distress. People with mental illnesses (for example, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) are more likely to have Type 2 diabetes than the general population, but very little is known about the impact that having diabetes can have on this group of people. This study will explore the psychological and social impact of having diabetes alongside a significant mental illness, and find out about how these individuals experience diabetes healthcare.

Research aims

Dr Siddiqi’s team will be surveying 200 people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and a mental illness, 120 carers (e.g. a partner or parent), and 90 healthcare professionals. They hope to gather information about levels of distress, how confident people are to self-manage their diabetes, and the impact that diabetes has on different aspects of their lives. In doing so, the study will provide insights into how diabetes can be managed more effectively in people living with significant mental illnesses.

Potential benefit to people with diabetes

This research will help to improve care and support for people with diabetes that are also living with a mental illness. In the long term, we hope it will enable people to self-manage their condition better and address inequalities in the provision of healthcare. 

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