Peer support program important for people living with diabetes

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Newfoundland and Labrador now has a free support service for people living with diabetes, it was announced today.

The Canadian Diabetes Association’s D-Support service — originally targeted to support people living with type 2 diabetes — is expanding.

That’s good news, according to a news release, as Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest prevalence of diabetes in Canada.

The service will provide free telephone-based peer support to everyone who is living with or affected by diabetes in the province, including people living with type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes, as well as parents, caregivers and partners of people who have been diagnosed.

“Diabetes is a chronic disease that you have to live with every single day. When you or someone you love is diagnosed, it can feel overwhelming," says Carol Ann Smith, regional director for the Canadian Diabetes Association in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Connecting these individuals with a peer who has gone through many of the same challenges can be really helpful and can provide a good source of support.”

D-Support connects callers with a trained D-Support volunteer in Newfoundland and Labrador who shares a similar experience with diabetes. D-Support volunteers are people who have first-hand experience living with and managing diabetes. They understand the day-to-day realities of living with a chronic disease, and can also help direct callers to appropriate resources in their communities, such as local diabetes education centres, walking clubs, fitness groups, and cooking classes.

“One thing that really helped my mom was being able to connect with other parents in a similar situation,” says Morgan Hayes, a D-Support volunteer who has been living with type 1 diabetes since she was diagnosed at age 2.

“Now as an adult living with diabetes, I can also appreciate having someone to ask questions or just talk to when you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the day-to-day.”

The number of people with diabetes in Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to rise from 54,891 people in 2013 to 98,201 people in 2033. At 10.9 per cent, the province already has the highest prevalence rate of diabetes in Canada.

Of this total, the estimated number of people with type 1 diabetes is 2,700 people in 2012 and that number is projected to rise to 3,400 by 2032.

The D-Support program is being delivered through a partnership with the provincial government and the United Way Newfoundland and Labrador. Those interested in being matched with a D-Support volunteer peer supporter, or those who would like to volunteer their time, can contact the D-Support service at 1-800-BANTING (226-8464), extension 7 or at dsupport@diabetes.ca.

 

 

Organizations: Canadian Diabetes Association

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

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