The importance of peer support

Tomorrow morning, I’m gatecrashing my diabetes care team monthly meeting, to talk to them about the Peer Support Service. The services is currently being run by myself and Andy . I’ve been pestering the DSN’s since January, to let me promote the service to them. Admittedly, I wish this meeting could have taken place in January, but I guess it’s better late than never.

Over the past 3 months, I have heard from so many people, wanting to know the things that get forgotten about, when it comes to diabetes. Through our blog, the Essex Diabetes Peer Support group on Facebook, and spreading the word on Twitter, I really do feel that we have already made a difference.

By no means are we trying to change the world, but it would be nice to give the locals a bit of support. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve had diabetes 2 days, or 20 years, there are some things you just might not know. That’s ok. It’s ok to ask questions. I will be the first person to say I wish I knew more about diabetes. What we are trying to do with the peer support service, then, is to create a network to find the answers to those questions. We might not know the answer, but someone else might. We just need to ask.

One thing I have always been told, is to talk. If I’m feeling sad, excited, or anxious, tell someone about it. Keeping quiet will not allow you to come to any conclusions, and it certainly won’t make those worries disappear. I have to say, I learnt this the hard way.

That’s why I am so excited about the peer support service. There are going to be so many opportunities to help people in Essex, who are living with diabetes. Not everyone feels comfortable talking about ‘feelings’ with their doctor. This is where we come in. The likelihood is that however diabetes is making you feel, there is probably someone else feeling like that, too. 

So, hopefully by the end of the week, all the DSN’s in Essex will be telling all their patients about the Peer Support service, and newly diagnosed patients will feel like they don’t have to do this on their own. Hurrah!





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