Mental health and diabetes

Diabetes UK

Diabetes UK

Diabetes doesn’t just cause physical effects to a person living with the condition; it also affects their mental health due to factors such as varying blood glucose levels and the continuous need to manage their condition.  In order to make it easier for people living with diabetes, more support for emotional and psychological health is required.

man holding a flower .jpg

Psychological conditions

The prevalence of psychological conditions is significantly higher among people living with diabetes

(Diabetes UK, 2010. Diabetes UK, 2019)

Mental health conditions are also risk factors for the development of diabetes

(Balhara, 2011)

People living with diabetes and mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders are associated with poor self-care which may lead to poor glycaemic control, increasing the risk of diabetes-related complications.

These can cause:

  • reduced quality of life

  • increased mortality

  • increased healthcare costs

(Balhara, 2011. Diabetes UK, 2010)


The more severe a psychological problem is, the increased risk that an individual’s diabetes management will be impaired

(DUK, 2019)

Recognition and maintenance of emotional and psychological needs are essential for the well-being of people with diabetes.

(Diabetes UK, 2010, 2017)


This has led to the launch of the Diabetes UK campaign called It’s missing, which aims to make emotional well-being an integral part of diabetes care.


Please visit Diabetes UK for more information and support.


Written by:

James Ridgeway

Eden education and research associate/facilitator


Reference list and links

Balhara, Y, (2011). ‘Diabetes and psychiatric disorders’. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. 15(4)

Diabetes UK (2010). Emotional and Psychological Support and Care in Diabetes: Report from the emotional and psychological support working group of NHS Diabetes and Diabetes UK

Diabetes UK (2017). Three in five people with diabetes experience emotional or mental health problems

Diabetes UK (2019). Diabetes and emotional health: A practical guide for healthcare professionals supporting adults with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Rachel Gardner