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We know mental health support should be an integral part of treatment for T1D. But what does this really mean?
If we only think about mental health support and treatment as sitting in a therapist’s office once a week, we are doing everyone with T1D a great disservice. We have to get creative and think outside the box when addressing the mental health needs of people with T1D.
On this episode of The Diabetes Psychologist podcast, I talk about how we can reimagine mental health treatment support for people with T1D. I take a deep dive into what people with T1D really need and how they can get their mental health needs met without therapy.
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Let the outcome drive the process!
Mental health treatment for T1D includes any intervention that reduces the emotional burden of living with T1D. With the outcome in mind, what can we do beyond therapy to get there?
Here are the beyond therapy interventions people with T1D need most:
To feel normal
People with T1D need to know that their experience is typical. T1D comes with lots of challenging emotions. They need to know that they are not weird, different, or weak for feeling whatever they feel. Knowing you are not alone in how you feel goes a long way.
Living with T1D means having to solve problems every day. If you have trouble solving problems, it can make you feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and even helpless. Finding ways to solve problems can give you the confidence you need to navigate the challenges of managing T1D.
Life with T1D can be stressful. Finding healthy ways to manage stress can make T1D a lot more manageable.
T1D is NOT a do-it-yourself condition. Diabetes is challenging, and doing it on your own without support makes it a lot more complicated. Having people in your life to support and encourage you can make T1D a lot easier to handle.
When therapy is needed
Therapy will be helpful for people with T1D with mental health challenges that make work, relationships, or managing diabetes difficult. For example, if you have a fear of low blood sugars or you don’t take insulin to lose weight, therapy is the best option. If you feel significant guilt and shame about diabetes, you are struggling with accepting that you have diabetes, or you were recently diagnosed with a complication, therapy can help.
In the next couple of months, I will be releasing a digital program to give people with T1D the skills, tools, and support they need to manage the stress of diabetes and not let it hold them back. I will be sharing more details about this program in the coming weeks!
Here are some of the resources I talked about in this episode: