The American Diabetes Association and the American Psychological Association have embarked on a joint initiative to present in-person courses for licensed mental health professionals wishing to provide mental health care to people with diabetes, according to a press release from ADA.
The program will be provided in advance of ADA’s 78th Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Florida, in June, and during the 126th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (APA) in San Francisco in August.
“The ADA and its outreach team members have been good at pointing out that the rates of depression in patients with diabetes are double that of the general population,” Doug Tynan, PhD, director of the APA Center for Psychology and Health, told Endocrine Today. “We, as medical and nursing providers, whether in endocrinology or primary care practices, recognize that there is a certain point, postdiagnosis, when patients are more likely to be depressed.”
Mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and diabetes distress, are among the most overlooked of the various comorbidities people with diabetes may face. Yet these issues can present major obstacles to diabetes self-management and can increase the risks for serious complications.
ADA guidelines advise that clinicians regularly screen patients with diabetes for psychosocial challenges, including mental health issues. If such problems are identified, physicians are advised to refer these patients to a mental health provider with knowledge of diabetes-related issues, Tynan said.
However, even as this screening is incorporated into routine diabetes care, there are a limited number of mental health professionals who are versed in providing high-quality mental health care in the setting of diabetes.
Tynan characterized the onset of depression in patients with diabetes as occurring at different times. In those with type 1 diabetes, he said, the depression often occurs 2 to 3 years into a diagnosis.
“It tends to be at about that time that they realize that they are going to have to keep doing this every day forever,” Tynan said. “With type 2, we get more depression and anxiety with the first diagnosis because maybe they had been struggling in the prediabetic state.”
Tynan said depression is associated with an increased risk for diabetes progression.
“We don’t really understand the mechanism, whether it’s transitioning into diabetes that is causing the depression, or the reverse,” he said. “It’s a complicated relationship.”
The two-part diabetes continuing education program will offer licensed mental health providers the following:
- a 7-hour in-person course offered at each organization’s annual meeting;
- an additional, postmeeting 5-hour online course, which will need to be completed within 3 months of the in-person course; and
- eligibility to be listed in the ADA Mental Health Provider Referral Directory, contingent on completion of the course.
Attendees of the course will also receive seven continuing education credits for the 1-day, in-person training, and five continuing education credits for the online training. Successful completion of the course will also entitle attendees to ADA Professional Associate Membership for 1 year, a 1-year subscription to Clinical Diabetes, membership in two professional interest groups, the Diabetes Pro quarterly e-newsletter and other benefits.
“The goal is for [mental health providers] to understand the diagnosis, know what is involved in a patient’s daily treatment regimen, and know the sorts of behaviors that will help,” Tynan said. – by Jennifer Byrne
For more information:
Doug Tynan, PhD,
can be reached at DuPont Hospital for DNA, Wilmington, DE 19803; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tynan reports no relevant financial disclosures.