Government of South Australia, Department of Health
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02 October 2020

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Improving treatment for those with both diabetes and mental health - Departmental  - 03 October 2008

With those who have a mental illness more likely to have type-2 diabetes, health workers across SA are meeting to discuss improving treatment and prevention.
As If It Wasn't Hard Enough! – Diabetes and Mental Health seminar in Adelaide today (oct3) is looking at the impact of having both illnesses and how health and community workers can better manage their clients.
The seminar, organised by the Mental Health Coalition of SA (MHCSA) and the Royal District Nursing Service SA (RDNS), is being attended by SA services providers, such as GPs and mental health workers.
The event coincides with Mental Health Week in SA, which has a key theme of people finding out more about mental illness and ways to improve their well-being.
Derek Wright, SA Health’s Director of Mental Health Operations, said: “It is a widely held view that you are more likely to experience a mild to moderate mental illness if you have an underlying chronic disease such as diabetes; people are better able to manage their underlying chronic health condition when their mental illness is treated.

“However, we also know that some people with mental illness can later have diabetes type 2. So I think we can do more work to promote healthy well-being such diet and exercise among consumers in their care packages. This can help to prevent obesity, which often lead to diabetes.”
Andrew Kelly, for the RDNS in SA, said “This seminar is working to get the best for people in South Australia living with both diabetes and mental illness.

“It offers attendees a better understanding of the issues involved and presents the ideals for achieving the best health and wellness outcomes for clients.
"We will also look as the relationship between diabetes and mental health and what people can do to look after themselves."

Fast facts (source SANE Australia):
• Australians currently diagnosed with diabetes approx 890,000
• Half of all Australians living with a chronic health condition experience depression or anxiety
• This rate of mental illness is two times greater than for the general population
• Diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease and is the sixth leading cause of death
• People living with a chronic health condition are more vulnerable to depression/anxiety, but treatment of a mental illness can improve underlying health condition
• Mental illnesses are treatable and the vast majority recover well


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