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Diabetes Victoria Blog

Join the discussion in our blog where a variety of writers from all walks of life take a stance on current diabetes issues.

Diabetes and depression – We are here to help you

7 April 2017
By Diabetes Victoria Staff

Today is World Health Day. This year’s focus is on depression.

Today is an important opportunity to reflect on the ever-growing rates of depression globally, with around 350 million people of all ages and from all walks of life suffering from depression.

At Diabetes Victoria, this is particularly important. People with depression are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and depression is more common and highly recurrent in people with diabetes.

Late last year, the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes (ACBRD) released a report, which uncovered that 36% of people with insulin-treated type 2 diabetes; 21% of people with non-insulin-treated type 2 diabetes; and 24% of people with type 1 diabetes experience depressive symptoms.

These rates are two to three times higher than in the general population.

It is vitally important that people living with diabetes who experience symptoms of depression seek help from their GP or other qualified healthcare professional such as your endocrinologist, diabetes educator, nurse practitioner or dietitian.

In addition to the support your healthcare professional can provide, we also have resources available for people living with diabetes to help identify and cope with depression symptoms, and take action.

Additional actions you can take to manage depression include:
  • Take part in peer support programs - People who participate in peer support programs feel less alone and more motivated to manage their diabetes.
  • Move your body - Though it can be hard to find the motivation when feeling down, physical activity can help. Physical activity has powerful effects on the brain and can improve the way you think and feel about yourself. Start small and gradually increase the amount you exercise every day.
  • Be thankful - Being thankful for what you have and the people in your life can have a big impact on your mood and how you view the world.
  • Be present - It can be a challenge to focus on the present moment, but being present can create happiness and serenity. Try mindful breathing – close your eyes and take 10 slow deep breaths, noticing the sensations each breath creates in your body. Let thoughts float by and don’t allow them to linger for too long.
  • Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can affect how calm you feel. Try to incorporate a routine and avoid distractions and substances that keep you awake. Reduce caffeine and stimulating activities before bed; like using mobile devices in bed, or strenuous exercise late in the evening.
Your diabetes health professionals are there to help you with all aspects of your diabetes, including how you feel about it. If you feel comfortable, share your feelings with them – they will give you non-judgemental support and advice.

If you are experiencing depression and not sure what to do, why not call our Helpline on 1300 136 588 and talk to one of our trained health professionals.

Other organisations that can provide mental health and depression support:
  • Lifeline – Crisis support – 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue - Support for depression and anxiety – 1300 22 46 36
  • Black Dog Institute - identification, prevention and treatment of mental illness, and the promotion of wellbeing
Children and young adult specific:
  • Head Space – The national youth mental health foundation – 1800 650 890
  • Kids Helpline - Help for teens, kids and young adults – 1800 55 1800