DRWF Research: Developing health models for prevention and treatment of diabetes
Pandemic impact on psychological wellbeing
Of course, never being far away from Covid-19 throughout the conference to date, there has been a recognised impact of the pandemic on mental health with trauma, bereavement, financial instability, disrupted education, inactivity and isolation all playing key roles.
This means that there are two key areas of diabetes psychology concern – the support and increasing competencies of the diabetes multidisciplinary team (MDT) in not just recognising but acting appropriately on distress for the person with diabetes and the impact of this increased chronic demand on the health and wellbeing of healthcare professionals and the diabetes MDT.
One speaker stressed the fact that “mental health” is an unhelpful catch-all phrase. Psychological wellbeing is more appropriate as it describes a continuum with normal stress reactions are one end of the scale and diagnosable mental ill-health at the other. This continuum of psychological wellbeing for people with diabetes ranges in severity and content and information from a good assessment can be mapped to help to identify these.
Disruption and innovation
The session ended with a look at the context of Covid-19 from a healthcare professional viewpoint. The pandemic has been a disruptor and an innovator for diabetes services, but burnout, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are real issues so the mental health - or psychological wellbeing – and emotional needs of our healthcare teams need to be centre stage as well. However, this speaker highlighted the issue of culture in the healthcare setting “…where sometimes it’s a badge of honour to be resilient and coming to work when you’re feeling slightly unwell or to address hard work and stay late”.
Is that healthy? She suggested not and that all healthcare professionals need to be better equipped to provide emotional and psychological support for people living with diabetes though improved training and support for their own mental health.
So, from molecules to mental health and from biomarkers to better resources, Day Six covered it all!