Mental Health

20.03.20

How to help patients manage the psychology of chronic conditions

Indie Dhariwal, Wellbeing Facilitator at Living Well Taking Control

Living with a chronic condition puts huge pressure on both the body and mind. Not only can it prevent patients from doing activities they used to enjoy, but in many cases, patients suffer psychological distress. Considering how difficult and disabling chronic conditions can be, it’s no surprise that people with these conditions are two to three times more likely than the general population to suffer from depression.

Chronic conditions don’t just affect a small part of the population.

According to the UK Department of Health, around 15 million people in England or 30 per cent of the population have one or more long-term conditions (2011). As chronic or long-term conditions can be difficult to treat, often healthcare professional must help manage the symptoms, so quality of life is sustained. But how can healthcare professionals help manage the mental health of patients living with chronic conditions?

Ongoing support

Patients with chronic conditions need ongoing support, support which the healthcare system has been historically slow to provide. But today there are a number of organisations dedicated to providing support. Health Exchange CIC provides one such service.

They work with the NHS and other healthcare bodies to provide specialist services such as social prescribing, diabetes and mental health support. Working as an extension of GP practices, patients can be referred to a wide range of support services from one-to-one meetings to group sessions. As a result of this, patients can feel better, improve their self-esteem and confidence once more.

The power of lifestyle intervention

As we know, some chronic conditions and the mental health issues associated with them can’t always be treated through and support. Thankfully some conditions like Type 2 diabetes can be placed in remission with proper management – offering patients improved quality of life and following mental resilience. According to new NHS figures, there are 1,969,610 patients registered with a GP who have non-diabetic hyperglycaemia or prediabetes.

In my role as a health facilitator I see hundreds of patients at risk of Type 2 diabetes in a group classroom setting. Through educational support, there can be a catalyst for behavioural lifestyle change for the patients. Through moving more and eating a balanced diet, patients see a great boost in the mental health.

Fostering mental resilience

Holding specific mental health sessions for patients is one effective way of offering support. This is also a crucial part of the programme that I work on – patients are given tips to manage their mental health and to feel good about themselves and their health journey.

To help patients develop positive thinking patterns we get patients to write down positive affirmations. By focussing on the positive aspects of life it encourages a way of thinking that patients might not have experienced in the past.

Coping with stress, chronic conditions and managing the pressure can be dependent on the support of those who surround us. That’s why patients should be able to bring close friends or family members to their sessions so they can be foster resilience together.

Help them make a start

To begin a programme which supports mental and physical health takes courage. It’s a difficult commitment, which often comes from years in the making. Healthcare professionals should consider this when offering support services to their patients.  

For some patients sadly no amount of efforts can ensure they can cope well with chronic conditions. But there is hope for patients who feel able to make a start. Through being mindful of patients’ background and overall health condition, healthcare professionals can give advice and recommend the right service or support for each individual patient.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

New £8.4m study launched into long-term impacts of Covid-19

07/07/2020New £8.4m study launched into long-term impacts of Covid-19

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have launched a major new research study into the long-te... more >
NHS Providers publish guide into NHS digital leadership

07/07/2020NHS Providers publish guide into NHS digital leadership

As part of efforts to help trust leaders build on the momentum achieved during the coronavirus pandemic and support NHS board lead their organisa... more >
Office of Health Economics urges supercharged R&D investment

07/07/2020Office of Health Economics urges supercharged R&D investment

A new report by the Office for Health Economics (OHE) has warned that without immediate action from the Government to “supercharge” p... more >

editor's comment

26/06/2020Adapting and Innovating

Matt Roberts, National Health Executive Editorial Lead. NHE May/June 2020 Edition We’ve been through so much as a health sector and a society in recent months with coronavirus and nothing can take away from the loss and difficulties that we’ve faced but it vital we also don’t disregard the amazing efforts we’ve witnessed. Staff have gone above and beyond, whole hospitals and trusts have flexed virtually at w... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us th... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

03/07/2020NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

Sean Duggan, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Network Let’s take this opportunity to reflect on the amazing achievements of our health system over the past few months. But as we recognise the best of the NHS and its response to the Covid-19 crisis we must not forget that for mental health the peak has yet to come. Covid-19 ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental health and wellbeing. As the best rugby players in the world repr... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference, Matt Hancock highlighted what he believes to be the three... more >
NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >

health service focus

View all News