Today is World Mental Health Day.
According to the WHO, Health is a state of complete physical, social and mental wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
1 in 5 Nigerians have mental health issues.
So many people go through mental health issues unrecognized.
Nigeria is in dire need of mental health awareness as well as diabetes awareness as there are a lot of societal stigma attached to these conditions.
So many people would rather go to a spiritual home without consulting a physician for their mental health conditions.
It is not only those on the streets with tattered clothing that have mental health issues. So many people around us in our families or workplace might also be victims.
Mental health problems also coexist in about 25 percent of people with health challenges one of which is diabetes mellitus.
Why are people living with diabetes at risk of developing mental health problems?
Having depression raises your risk for onset of diabetes, just as having diabetes raises your risk for onset of depression. Depression can lead to poor lifestyle decisions, such as unhealthy eating, less exercise, smoking and weight gain — all of which are risk factors for diabetes.
Getting a diagnosis of diabetes in itself can lead to some emotional responses like anger, denial and fear which is normal in the initial stage of grief. However, this can be prolonged and then can lead to a myriad of problems.
Newly diagnosed people living witb diabetes can exhibit anger and wonder why they are diagnosed when other friends and relatives do not have the condition.
The stress involved in the entire lifestyle change of being careful with choice of food, regular blood sugar checks and having to take insulin can take a toll on a person.
Anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders and post traumatic stress disorder are also common among people living with diabetes.
The financial and social burden of living with diabetes can also predispose to mental illness.
People with mental health challenge increases their risk of diabetes complications as they are more likely to be non-adherent to medications and self care.
It has been said that mental health state can affect treatment outcome of diabetes. For instance, Women with type 1 diabetes and eating disorders have poorer glycemic control, with higher rates of hospitalizations and retinopathy, neuropathy, and premature death compared with similarly aged women with type 1 diabetes without eating disorders.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that clinicians routinely screen diabetes patients for psychological problems; however, few diabetes clinics do provide those mental-health screenings
The World Health Organization estimates that diabetes will affect more than 350 million persons worldwide by 2030, with the number of persons affected more than doubling from the year 2000.
HOW TO PREVENT MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS IN PEOPLE LIVING WITH DIABETES
People living with diabetes need care, love and support from friends and family.
Learn coping mechanisms – diabetes management should include self care mechanisms. Exercise is said to be helpful in reducing stress and depression due to release of endorphins.
Find a support network or group.
Eating balanced diet.
See a doctor for regular mental state examination and psychotherapy.
You can still win an all expense paid trip to a diabetes youth camp in Ghana . Click here