Recently the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes (ACBRD) celebrated their 10th anniversary. I was honoured to be invited to share what this significant milestone meant for me as a person living with diabetes at their webinar event. The more I reflected on this, the more I realised the enormous ripple effect that research on the psychosocial, emotional and mental wellbeing of diabetes has on the diabetes community.
The focus on diabetes management has often been focused on the clinical aspect of it. Only in the past few years have we really started being more vocal and inclusive of the psychosocial, emotional and mental aspects of living with diabetes day to day. Diabetes advocacy has played a big role in getting this recognised. At the same time, clinicians are also more likely to now take this more seriously due to the published research in this area. it really shouldn’t take research to get clinicians to listen, acknowledge or validate the experiences of people living with the condition. But we will take all the help we can get.
Most importantly, the growing research in this area provides hope for me; hope that we will keep fighting the stigma associated with diabetes. And that this will ensure we receive the same care, empathy and compassion by clinicians and others as those facing other conditions such as cancer. Even if all of this research leads to a conversation, getting people to start thinking about how they talk about diabetes and to people with diabetes will make a difference. The emerging research also boosts my self-confidence to advocate for my own medical needs when I speak with my healthcare team.
As a researcher, recognition for psychosocial, emotional and mental wellbeing research in diabetes further highlights the importance of my own work and advocacy around peer support for people with diabetes in Australia. In return, the research is translated into the work that Diabetes Victoria, Diabetes Australia and the NDSS does for people with diabetes. Talk about impact!
While there is still a long way to go in this area with lots of topics to explore, it’s important to celebrate the achievements that have been done to date. So a massive thank you to the ACBRD for all the work that you’ve accomplished so far. I can’t wait to see the exciting new research coming out from your centre and be part of that. To find out more about the ACBRD, check out their website here and don’t forget to read their 10 year report for a summary of their work up till this milestone.