Diabetes is a lifelong condition that affects millions of people in the UK. Managing it requires ongoing care and support from healthcare professionals, as well as access to accurate information and resources. In this article, we’ll explore various sources of diabetes support available in the UK.
1. National Health Service (NHS)
The National Health Service (NHS) is the primary provider of healthcare services in the UK, and it offers a range of services and resources for people with diabetes.
NHS Diabetes Services
- Diabetes clinics: Local NHS clinics offer various diabetes services, including consultations, blood sugar monitoring, and medication management.
- Diabetes education programmes: The NHS provides structured education programmes, such as the Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed (DESMOND) programme for people with type 2 diabetes and the Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating (DAFNE) programme for people with type 1 diabetes.
- Diabetes specialist nurses (DSNs): DSNs are registered nurses with special training and expertise in diabetes care. They can provide individualized support and advice to patients and their families.
To find NHS diabetes services near you, use the NHS Service Finder.
2. Diabetes Charities and Non-profit Organizations
Several UK-based charities and non-profit organizations offer support, resources, and advocacy for people with diabetes.
As the largest diabetes charity in the UK, Diabetes UK provides a wide range of services and resources:
- Helpline: A confidential helpline (0345 123 2399) staffed by trained counsellors, providing information and emotional support.
Local support groups: More than 300 voluntary groups across the UK offer peer support, educational events, and social activities.
- Online forum: The Diabetes UK Support Forum is a platform for people with diabetes to share experiences, ask questions, and get advice from others in similar situations.
- Publications: Diabetes UK publishes a variety of free and paid resources, including factsheets, booklets, and a quarterly magazine called Balance.
JDRF UK is a charity focused on type 1 diabetes, funding research and providing support and resources for people with the condition. Their services include:
- Type 1 Discovery Days: Free, local events that offer information about type 1 diabetes, research updates, and networking opportunities.
- Online resources: JDRF UK’s website features a wealth of information about type 1 diabetes, including guides, factsheets, and a Living with Type 1 section.
3. Online Resources and Communities
The internet offers numerous resources and communities where people with diabetes can find information, support, and connection with others.
Diabetes.co.uk is an independent, comprehensive online resource for people with diabetes. It features:
- News and articles: Daily news, in-depth articles, and expert interviews on diabetes-related topics.
- Forums: A large community of people with diabetes who share experiences, ask questions, and support each other.
- Apps: Diabetes.co.uk has developed several apps, including the Diabetes Forum App for accessing their forums on the go and the Low Carb Program to help people with diabetes manage their carbohydrate intake.
Diabetes Support Facebook Groups
Several Facebook groups offer a platform for people with diabetes to connect and share experiences. Some popular groups include:
- Diabetes UK Facebook Group: An official group affiliated with Diabetes UK, offering support and information from the charity and its members.
- Type 1 Diabetes UK: A group specifically for people with type 1 diabetes, focusing on support and information related to this type of diabetes.
- Type 2 Diabetes UK: A similar group to the above, but specifically for people with type 2 diabetes.
4. Peer Support Services
Sometimes, talking to someone who has experienced the same challenges can provide invaluable support and understanding. Peer support services connect people with diabetes to others who have lived experience of the condition.
Diabetes UK Peer Support
Diabetes UK’s Peer Support service connects people with diabetes to trained volunteers who have personal experience with the condition. This service is available via phone, email, or WhatsApp, and you can request a volunteer who has experience with a specific aspect of diabetes management, such as pregnancy or technology.
T1International Diabetes Mentors
T1International, a global type 1 diabetes advocacy organization, offers a Diabetes Mentors programme that pairs people with type 1 diabetes with experienced mentors who can provide advice, guidance, and emotional support. This service is available worldwide, including the UK.
5. Professional Support Services
For those seeking professional guidance and counselling, various services are available to help people with diabetes manage the emotional and mental health aspects of living with the condition.
NHS Psychological Services
If you’re struggling with the emotional impact of diabetes, speak to your GP or diabetes care team about accessing psychological support through the NHS. They may refer you to counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), or other mental health services appropriate for your needs.
Private Counselling and Therapy
Some people prefer seeking support from private therapists or counsellors who have experience working with people with diabetes. To find a suitable professional, you can use the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) directory or the Psychology Today UK Therapist Directory.
In conclusion, there are numerous sources of diabetes support available in the UK, from national healthcare services to local support groups and online communities. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help and connect with others who understand the challenges of living with diabetes.