Background: Mental illness comorbidity with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is highly prevalent and has significant negative impacts on glycaemic control, quality of life, and other diabetes complications. In turn, diabetes can negatively impact on mental health outcomes. Under-recognition and under-treatment of mental health disorders, in particular depression, is common and there is need for mental health data specific to T1DM.
Aim: To assess the mental health need and barriers to care in adults with T1DM attending diabetes outpatient clinics at our tertiary teaching hospital. This research will inform the next phase of evaluating the feasibility of individual and group-based interventions designed to improve mental health.
Method: Recruited participants completed self-report questionnaires measuring depression, anxiety, diabetes-related distress, and quality of life. Biological markers including HbA1c were also collected.
Results: Thirteen participants (9 female: 4 male) currently recruited. Age range 21-70 years. Years since diagnosis 4 - 47 years. Preliminary data show that according to the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (M = 8.4; SD = 3.1), 2 participants (15.4%) reported clinically significant depressive symptoms. For the Anxiety subscale (M = 6.5; SD = 4.5), 3 participants (23.1%) reported clinically significant anxiety symptoms. Mean rating on the Problem Areas in Diabetes Scale was 31.7 (SD = 22.2). For the Diabetes-Related Quality of Life Brief Clinical Inventory, mean rating was 34.5 (SD = 10.8). The most frequently reported barriers to mental health care were cost, time, and lack of motivation.
Conclusion: Our preliminary findings support research highlighting the prevalence of depression and anxiety in adults with T1DM. We are conducting 3, 6, and 12–month follow-up assessments to clarify patterns in mental health concerns over time. The next phase of this research should consider cost-effective therapeutic interventions that include motivation enhancing components.