How to Find a Mental Health Professional
Finding the right medical team to help you manage your physical health when you have type 1 diabetes (T1D) is very important–but the importance of your mental health should not be overlooked. It is not uncommon for individuals living with type 1 diabetes to experience burnout, depression and anxiety. Therapy might be a helpful step in developing coping skills to overcome these challenges and build resilience.
Whether you’ve been living with type 1 diabetes all your life, or you were just diagnosed, you know that diabetes management impacts your day-to-day life in countless ways. You’re doing the work for your pancreas—which is no small feat! You have to count carbohydrates whenever you eat and worry about blood sugar fluctuations at all times and the costs of managing your disease in ways that many people around you might not. Transitioning into this routine, or even maintaining it after many years, can take a toll—and there’s no shame in getting some help!
When to Seek Help From a Mental Health Provider
It’s important to seek out the help you need in order to cope with the mental challenges that come with your type 1 diabetes—but how do you know that a mental health professional is the right resource for you?
You may need some extra support if:
- You’re lacking the motivation to check your blood sugar or take your insulin and it feels like your mental health is getting in the way of diabetes management.
- You’re having trouble navigating your relationships with family and friends.
- You might be avoiding your loved ones because you are not up to being around other people.
- You’re forgetting about things that are important to you — blowing off hobbies or activities that you normally wouldn’t want to miss out on.
If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone. If you are unsure whether this is the right option for you, talk with your health care team. Finding a mental health professional might seem like a big step, but it can make an even bigger difference.
Finding the Right Mental Health Professional
Remember: The feelings and challenges you are experiencing—depression, anxiety and everything in between—are struggles faced by everyone, whether they have type 1 diabetes or not. It is very possible that a general therapist will be able to provide the help that you need.
On the other hand, many of your emotions and struggles are intimately linked to your type 1 diabetes. It may be more helpful or comforting to have a therapist familiar with your disease and management. If you think that might be the case for you, your endocrinologist can probably help! They might be able to refer you to a mental health professional that works exclusively with people living with diabetes or has knowledge of the disease. Check out ADA Mental Health Provider Directory to learn more.
There is a chance that your endocrinologist does not have recommendation for a mental health provider. Insurance may also present challenges and limit your options. You might want to consider checking if there are support groups at your hospital or doctor’s office or participating in JDRF’s TypeOneNation summits to get support.
Seeking out help can be difficult at first, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone.