Objectives: People with mental illness are more likely to experience poorer outcomes with type 2 diabetes than the general population. Diabetes management can be improved when lifestyle-intervention content is tailored to the learning needs of individuals or groups. The purpose of this pilot study was to explore the perspectives of clients and providers involved with mental health care with regard to how diabetes education can effectively address the challenges that may be faced when people with mental illness engage in diabetes self-care behaviours. Methods: Focus groups included 17 people with mental illness and type 2 diabetes and 21 mental health clinicians. Data were transcribed verbatim, assessed for quality and saturation and coded to identify relationships and meanings among identified themes. Results: Participants described strategies concerning how to consider symptoms of mental illness and address the psychosocial challenges that people with mental illness may be more likely to experience. Teaching strategies identified by clinicians and clients that were perceived to be effective included allowing clients to guide education session content, and being flexible when providing support, identifying education topics to discuss and teaching about diabetes. Participants also emphasized the importance of empowering clients by helping them to see how sustainable behaviour changes can be achieved. Differences between the perspectives of the clients receiving mental health care and the clinicians were often related to neglecting to begin with client-driven needs assessments. Conclusions: Our study offers diabetes educators a strategy for applying Diabetes Canada's self-management education guidelines to the needs of people with mental illness by using suggestions from clients and clinicians.
- diabetes self-management education
- mental illness
- tailored care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism