Support needed for teens with diabetes

Many teenagers can testify to the trauma of teasing, but for young people with type 1 diabetes, fear of peer response may be creating significant barriers to their control over the disease. 

About one in three adolescents with type 1 diabetes will develop a mental health disorder – usually anxiety, depression and eating disorders, as opposed to psychotic disorders. 

That’s twice the rate of their healthy peers. 

Yet few have access to any sort of preventive psychological counselling, according to Associate Professor Fergus Cameron, head of diabetes services at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. His own clinic is a case in point. 

“We’re the biggest paediatric diabetes care centre in the Southern Hemisphere, we’ve got 1650 kids at our clinic, and we have no clinical psychologists with our clinic. We have access to crisis-based mental health care, but it’s decentralised