Practice Resources

Mental Health & Diabetes

Resources and guidance to support the mental health of individuals
with diabetes

Mental Health and Diabetes

Mental health is now recognized as a critical component of any diabetes care plan because if issues go unrecognized and untreated, care can become undermined and diabetes management impeded. 

You have a critical role to play in helping people with diabetes get the help they need. Diabetes care and education specialists are perfected positioned to notice when an individual is experiencing distress and can serve as that connector to mental health professionals.

Take a look at the resources we've compiled. All of these will help to support your role as a connector and position you to provide holistic care to those you serve. 

AADE T1 IG - DiabetesANDMental Health-Draft3-Long
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​1. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 16-4984, NSDUH Series H-51). Available at: Accessed 29 May 2018.
2. Anderson, R. J., Freedland, K. E., Clouse, R. E., & Lustman, P. J. (2001). The prevalence of comorbid depression in adults with diabetes: A meta-analysis. Diabetes Care, 24, 1069 –1078.
3. Young-Hyman D, de Groot M, Hill-Briggs F, et al. Psychosocial Care for People with Diabetes: A Position Statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care 2016; 39: 2126–2140.
4. Grigsby AB, Anderson RJ, Freedland KE, et al. Prevalence of anxiety in adults with diabetes: A systematic review. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 2002;53: 1053–1060
5. Matlock, Jones, Corathers, et al. Clinical and psychosocial factors associated with suicidal ideation in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. J Adolesc Health 2017;61(4):471-477.
6. Van Buren DJ, Wilfley DE, et al. Depressive symptoms and glycemic control in youth with type 2 diabetes participating in the TODAY clinical trial. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2018;135:85-87.
7. Young V, Eiser C, Johnson B, et al. Eating problems in adolescents with T1D: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Diabetic Medicine 2013;30:189–198.
8. Young-Hyman, D. (2012). Eating disorders and disordered eating behavior. In D. Young-Hyman & M. Peyrot (Eds.), Psychosocial care. Washington,DC: American Diabetes Association.

New Practice Paper

A Practical Approach to Mental Health for the Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

In 2017, the American Diabetes Association added mental health to its Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes, elevating its importance in overall diabetes care and making it critical that diabetes educators understand how to address mental health issues within their practice.

This new ADCES practice paper covers the different psychosocial concerns and potential pharmacologic options for people with diabetes. It also provides guidance on the screening and referral process.

Key Points:

  1. Depression and other mental health related conditions are more commonly found in people with diabetes. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there’s help! Diabetes care and education specialists need to help their patients overcome any stigma associated with mental illness and encourage them to seek treatment by a mental health professional, if needed.
  2. If a person with diabetes realizes that they are eating even when they are not hungry, this is a cue to the diabetes care and education specialists to help them make adjustments in their routine.
  3. If a person with diabetes has tried making behavioral changes and is struggling, be open to discussing current effective treatment through pharmacotherapy.
  4. Promote the role of caregivers who can serve as needed champions, helping the person with diabetes remember to do such things as take their medication as prescribed and manage stress.

Featured Vlogs

Three Ways to Support Mental Health for People with Diabetes 

Diabetes care and education specialists Jasmine Gonzalvo and Shannon Eaves join us to discuss the importance of mental health for people with diabetes and introduce ADCES' practice paper on mental health.

What Do Diabetes and Mental Health Have in Common?

Jay Hamm, PsyD, HSPP and Mary de Groot, PhD, HSPP provide a high level overview of ADCES' newest practice paper, which focuses on mental health and diabetes.

Downloadable Patient Resources

When someone is diagnosed with diabetes, a variety of emotions can emerge including sadness, guilt, fear, anger and others. There is no way to predict the emotions that will develop upon diagnosis, but there are ways to manage them.


Anger and Diabetes

Also available in Spanish/Español


Stress and Diabetes

Also available in Spanish/Español


Depression and Diabetes

Also available in Spanish/Español


Distress and Diabetes

Also available in Spanish/Español

Diabetes and Eating Disorders: A Facebook Live chat with Asha Brown

Asha Brown, founder and executive director of We Are Diabetes, shares her tips for diabetes care and education specialists to recognize signs of eating disorders and how to get individuals help. 

Educational Opportunities

On-demand Webinars

Why a Patient Story Matters

Why a Patient Story Matters: Addressing Psychosocial Needs During Diabetes Education

This 90-minute webinar is designed to address the psychosocial components that often feel like “unchartered waters” for diabetescare and education specialists. Participants will be able to address psychosocial components and utilize behavior change theories and techniques to improve services for people with diabetes.

Helping Individuals Deal with Diabetes Stigma and Guilt

Helping Individuals Deal with Diabetes Stigma and Guilt

Diabetes care and education specialists can play a critical role in shifting the “shame and blame” paradigm. Through this 60-minute webinar, learn the extent of the problem and new strategies for helping people with diabetes move away from diabetes stigma (judgement, shame, discouragement, avoidance) and gain tools for empowerment, encouragement and engagement.

Effective Ways to Handle Emotions-Yours and Your Patients

“Please Don’t Cry!” Effective Ways to Handle Emotions (Yours and Your Patients’)

As a diabetes care and education specialist, you have probably had patients become very emotional and challenge your caregiving ability or expertise. With this 60-minute webinar, explore strategies that can help you accomplish more with patients who feel anxiety, denial, depression, anger, hopelessness and more.

Together 2 Goal

A Practical Approach to Mental Health for People with Diabetes

Offered by the AMGA Foundation through its Together 2 Goal National Diabetes Campaign

Jasmine Gonzalvo, BCPS, BC-ADM, CDE, LDE, FAADE, and Jay Hamm, PsyD, HSPP talk about the link between diabetes and mental health, describe how medications and their pharmacologic effects can affect diabetes management and understanding when to refer people to mental health services and how to recognize an emergency situation. 



Diabulimia What It Is and How To Treat It

Diabulimia—Diabetes & Eating Disorders: What It Is and How to Treat It

Learn how to identify individuals at high-risk for diabulimia. Recognize and circumvent the strategies individuals with diabetes use to avoid weight gain.

Psychosocial Care for People with Diabetes

Psychosocial Care for People with Diabetes 

This book covers all the issues that care providers should consider when a person with diabetes takes on the challenges of diabetes self-management and manages living with a chronic disease. Sections cover behavior health, self-management, implementation of treatment technology and life course issues.

This landmark text covers all of the issues that care providers should consider when a patient takes on the burdens of diabetes self-management and deals with living with a chronic disease. Sections cover behavioral health, self-management, implementation of treatment technology, and life course issues.

ADCES Journal Articles

The Diabetes Educator

Effectiveness of Diabetes Self-Management Education Programs for US Latinos at Improving Emotional Distress: A Systematic Review
Vol 45, 1. First Published December 20, 2018
Angela P. Gutierrez, MS; Addie L. Fortmann, PhD; Kimberly Savin, BA; Taylor L. Clark, BS; Linda C. Gallo, PhD

Diabetes Distress Among Persons with Type 1 Diabetes: Associations with Disordered Eating, Depression and Other Psychological Health Concerns
Vol 43, 1: pp. 83-93. First Published December 7, 2016
Margaret A. Powers, PhD, RD; Sara A. Richter, MS; Diann M. Ackard, PhD; Cheryl Craft, RN

Understanding Diabetes-Related Distress Characteristics and Psychosocial Support Preferences of Urban African American Adults Living With Type 2 Diabetes: A Mixed-Methods Study
Vol. 44, 2: pp. 144-157. First Published January 27, 2018
Sula Hood, PhD; Amy Irby-Shasanmi, PhD; Mary de Groot, PhD; Elissabeth Martin, BA; Andrew S. LaJoie, PhD

The Diabetes Educator Journal

ADCES in Practice

Mental Health in People with Diabetes: A Needs Assessment for the Diabetes Care and Education Specialist
Jasmine D. Gonzalvo, PharmD, BCPS, BC-ADM, CDE, LDE, Mary de Groot, PhD, HSPP, Joanne Rinker, MS, RD, CDE, LDN, FAADE, Andrea R. Hilligoss, PharmD Candidate, Athena L. Vu, PharmD Candidate
First Published: August 16, 2018

Are We Addressing Our Patients’ Mental Health?
Teresa Pearson, MS, RN, CDE, FAADE
First Published: June 20, 2014

When Will It Be Okay to Talk About Mental Illness? 
Teresa Pearson, MS, RN, CDE, FAADE
First Published: August 16, 2016

When It All Gets to Be Too Much: Addressing Diabetes Distress in African Americans 
Adeola Akindana, APRN, DNP, CDE; Michelle Owens-Gary, PhD, MA; Alexis Williams, MPH, MS, CDE
First Published: June 31, 2016

Depression, Diabetes Distress and Diabetes Self-Management: Progress and Persistence
Joseph Nelson, MA, LP, CST
First Published: August 19, 2013

Stress Management
Janis Roszler, LMFT, RD, LD/N, CDE, FAND; Melissa Brail, LMFT
First Published: April 26, 2017

AADE in Practice Cover

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