May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and we’re pausing throughout the month to acknowledge just how much diabetes affects our overall mental health. Turns out, it’s a lot. Today, we’re focusing on what resources can help us navigate the complexities that come with having a disease that affects each of us every day.
These 12 resources were curated by our team because we think each one offers a unique way to manage different aspects of diabetes. They won’t apply to everyone, but we hope there are a few that might fit into your lifestyle.
- Find a Mental Health Provider. Did you know the American Diabetes Association (ADA) provides a free mental health provider listing? This easy-to-use resource helps you locate mental health providers who have expertise in diabetes care, within your zip code. This is an incredible tool that makes sure you’re connected with someone for your specific needs.
- Happy Campers: Connecting Kids with Diabetes. The Diabetes Education & Camping Association’s (DECA) mission is to unite the worldwide diabetes camping community through leadership and education. Through its Find a Camp tool, you can locate summer camps focused on providing kids with the diabetes management tools they need to thrive. Camps are focused on providing motivation and support, as well as acceptance, understanding, excitement, and adventure. All camps are fully staffed with physicians, nurses, dietitians, and trained counselors.
- Peer Support for College Students. Sending your college-bound child off to school comes with an enormous amount of emotion. For those students with diabetes, it can also lead to anxiety. That’s where the College Diabetes Network (CDN) comes in. CDN was founded in 2009 by a college student with T1D who felt isolated and often struggled to manage her diabetes alone. CDN now gives students across the country a sense of community and the resources they need through chapters on and off campuses. Don’t see a chapter on your campus? You can now start your own.
- Have You Created an Emergency Kit? If the COVID-19 pandemic has prepared us for anything, it’s certainly taught us the value of planning for a disaster. For T1Ds, it’s even more important to think about how natural disasters and other unexpected emergencies can impact us. But where to start? There are several resources out there including a very helpful checklist from JDRF which includes helpful tips like printing out copies of prescriptions and having a printed copy of the make, model, and serial number of your insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor. See more of the checklist here. Another resource is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which has a section on its website for Diabetes Care During Emergencies. It also provides a checklist and other helpful information including finding a shelter that meets your needs in an emergency.
- Minimizing Financial Stress. Let’s face it, diabetes is an expensive disease that can lead to financial anxiety and worry. GetInsulin.org connects you with insulin access and affordability options that match your unique circumstances. After answering a few questions, you’ll receive a customized action plan to guide you through solutions and connect you with programs that can help.
- Find a Good Healthy Eating Plan. Knowing what to eat is often a challenge. If you frequently find yourself searching for diabetes-friendly recipes, check out the Diabetes Food Hub on the ADA website. It’s chock-full of recipes for every meal of the day.
- Set Recurring Deliveries for Diabetes Supplies. Using subscription services to “set it and forget it” is always a good way to have the supplies you need when you need them. Transcend offers a subscribe and save option currently through our Amazon Store. You can set deliveries of your glucose gels and drinks from every 2 weeks all the way up to every 6 months. There are also other resources out there such as meal and prescription drug delivery services focused on our unique needs.
- Community Support Matters. The Community Table presented by the ADA and Beyond Type 1 hosts monthly conversations surrounding under-discussed issues facing the diabetes community. It brings “to the table” community members, experts, and healthcare providers. You can register to join each conversation via Zoom or catch them live on Facebook. A list of monthly events is listed on the website.
- Recognizing Diversity in Diabetes. It pains us to say that health disparities and a lack of representation in the diabetes space exists. Diversity in Diabetes was established to create awareness and provide solutions. In addition to its advocacy efforts, this non-profit also offers free virtual diabetes education and support programs.
It’s so important to nurture our mental and emotional health. Finding good resources and good people we can rely on only helps us succeed in our day-to-day challenges. We hope you find this list a good starting point. You may also have other websites, apps, and resources you find helpful. If so, we’d love to hear about them so we can share them with others in our community.
Disclaimer: THIS IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS A MEDICAL ADVICE. For those with existing medical conditions, those who are taking medications, or are uncertain about any information we share, proper consultation with your trusted physician is strongly recommended.