Self-management of Type 2 diabetes and severe mental illness

Document Type

Journal Article


Taylor and Francis Ltd

Place of Publication

United States


School of Nursing and Midwifery


Originally published as: Whitehead, L. (2017). Self-management of Type 2 Diabetes and Severe Mental Illness. Issues in mental health nursing, 38(7), 606-607. Available here.


Background: Optimal management of diabetes to maintain glycaemic control within the recommended levels (4-7%, 20-53 mmol/mol) requires continuous, daily management through diet, exercise, and medication management, all areas strongly influenced by self-management through individual behaviour and action.

The short and long-term effects of hyprglycaemia are multiple, including microvascular changes (e.g. retinopathy, nephopathy, and neuropathy) and macrovascular (e.g. hear disease). Optimal management, however, is on thought to be practiced by the minority. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises mental disorder as an important contributing factor to the global burden of non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes with a call for interventions to extend beyond a focus on improving mental health but also physical health needs of people with a mental disorder. In the United Kingdom, the Schizophrenia Commission and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, recognise that the poorer physical health of people with severe mental illness must be urgently addressed, and they include amongst their advice the need to tailored health promotion programmes that can help people to better manage their physical health, including chronic illness.