The Diabetes UK It’s Missing campaign sets out to raise awareness of the link between diabetes and mental health and highlights the problems faced by people with diabetes that can affect their mental wellbeing.
Commissioning high quality mental health services, which understand and meet the needs of people affected by long-term conditions such as diabetes, is really important to us.
It is also one of the key priorities set out in both the NHS Long Term Plan and the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. The relationship between mental and physical health conditions was something we took into account when developing our new Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service, which launched in September. The public engagement carried out prior to the introduction of the service highlighted the need for much more integrated physical and psychological healthcare for people with diabetes.
The new single IAPT service for people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, provided by Vita Health, will take steps to achieve this by providing treatment for mental health and long-term health conditions in the same locations, with integration already having begun for some long-term conditions. The linking of IAPT and diabetes specific services will begin next year, allowing more joined-up access to treatment. A Living Well with Long Term Health Conditions group led by the IAPT service will also be available across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire from January 2020.
Staff within the IAPT service will also receive specific training on long-term conditions, including diabetes. They will be able to refer to therapy, support groups, online treatments and resources suitable for people affected by both long-term physical health conditions and mental health issues. Vita Health is also running a peer support programme in the area, to provide people with diabetes with practical support to manage their condition and improve their health.
The provision of holistic care for everyone is an important part of the new service. The service aims to address the causes as well as the symptoms of mental health difficulties and provide access to a number of different specialists to deliver patient-centred care. This process will include specialist diabetes input within mental health services, to provide a link between the specialisms and deliver a complete package of care. The service will also engage with people with long-term conditions in line with the NHS IAPT Long-term conditions positive practice guide.
We are continually looking to improve services that we commission and welcome feedback, which we share with service providers. Please contact our Customer Services Team with any service feedback or suggested improvements and they can ensure it is considered by the appropriate department or provider.
We are also working to promote Diabetes UK’s campaign and share its messages with partners across our healthcare system and raise awareness of issues of mental health in people with diabetes and other long term conditions.