National Diabetes Week runs from July 12 – 18, and this year, the focus is on raising awareness and supporting the emotional and mental health needs of people living with diabetes.
The daily burden of living with diabetes can be significant, and research shows that managing the challenges of diabetes can lead to anxiety, distress and depression for one in three people living with this condition.
For patients at the RCH, our dedicated team of doctors, nurses and allied health clinicians, including former patients with first-hand experience, are here to support our young patients as they learn to live with their condition.
Georgia Lynch and Nicole Bloom first came to the RCH as young people when they were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Inspired by their positive experiences, now they’re here to care for the next generation as Diabetes Nurse Educators.
“I had a super positive experience and I think that definitely played a role in me wanting to be a Diabetes Nurse Educator and work here at the RCH,” Georgia said.
“I didn’t want to transition to adult care! There were also a few moments that really inspired me to come back and work with children who may have a similar experience to what I did,” Nicole said.
They also know, better than most, that living with diabetes can be challenging, especially for young people and their families who need a lot of support in the early stages of diagnosis.
“As Diabetes Nurse Educators, we’re focused on education and empowerment so that our patients and their families know they can still live their lives to the fullest,” Nicole said.
“It’s a manageable condition to live with and I do try to impart that on my patients. Everyone has a rough day now and again for whatever reason, but having really good supports, people you can talk to, and peers who live with the same condition make it really manageable.”
This year’s theme, ‘Heads up’ Diabetes, is also a great reminder that despite the challenges of chronic health conditions like diabetes, support is available and anything is possible – just ask Georgia and Nicole.
“I think it’s great that mental health is the focus this year and a topic of discussion. Mental health in general needs to be spoken about more, and not just among those with chronic conditions,” Georgia said.
“There’s nothing in the world we can’t do because of this disease. I impart this on the families that I care for, that they can do anything and everything they want,” Nicole said.
For information about diabetes management at the RCH and for educational resources for children and families living with diabetes, visit https://www.rch.org.au/diabetes/