Diabetes Dialogue: Managing & Addressing Mental Health Needs in Diabetes


Often overlooked and unrecognized, the mental health challenges accompanying type 1 diabetes are becoming a focal point of discussion for many in the field, including Mark Heyman, PhD, who joined Diana Isaacs, PharmD, and Natalie Bellini, DNP, for a special ADA 2023 edition of Diabetes Dialogue.

For people without diabetes, it is almost impossible to imagine the burden type 1 diabetes places on a person’s life. From the outside looking in, diabetes is often boiled down to requiring insulin and using finger sticks, or maybe more modern technology, to monitor glycemic levels.

However, for people with type 1 diabetes, their condition requires them to make around 180 additional decisions on a daily basis, with these questions ranging from how much or what to eat depending on glycemic levels at the time as well as how their actions throughout the day, such as a decision to exercise, might require additional attention.

During their time on-site at the 83rd Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association (ADA 2023), hosts Diana Isaacs, PharmD, an endocrine clinical pharmacist, director of Education and Training in Diabetes Technology, and codirector of Endocrine Disorders in Pregnancy at the Cleveland Clinic, and Natalie Bellini, DNP, program director of Diabetes Technology at University Hospitals Diabetes and Metabolic Care Center, recorded more than half a dozen special edition episodes of Diabetes Dialogue: Technology, Therapeutics, & Real-World Perspectives, including an episode with Mark Heyman, PhD, chief executive officer of the Center for Diabetes and Mental Health.

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1999, Heyman knows firsthand the impact of diagnosis, not only on physical health, but mental health for people with diabetes. It was this journey that inspired Heyman to author and publish the book Diabetes Sucks and You Can Handle It. Released in April 2022, the book is described as exploring “the balance of acknowledging, sitting with, and working through your emotions connected to the hardships of diabetes”.

In the episode with Heyman, hosts Isaacs and Bellini discuss how a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes can impact mental health, the role of mental health support for people with type 1 diabetes as well as the nuances of how and when clinicians can facilitate providing this type of support.

All episodes of Diabetes Dialogue: Technology, Therapeutics, & Real-World Perspectives are available in an audio-only format on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Relevant disclosures for Dr. Isaacs include Eli Lilly and Company, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, Abbott Diabetes Care, Dexcom, Medtronic, and others. Relevant disclosures for Dr. Bellini include Abbott Diabetes Care, MannKind, Provention Bio, and others. Relevant disclosures for Dr. Heyman One Drop, Dexcom, Tandem Diabetes Care, Insulet, MannKind, and Vertex.


  1. Chapple B. Easing the burden for people with diabetes. Diabetes UK. Accessed June 25, 2023. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news/easing-burden-people-diabetes.
  2. Melvin A. New book alert! “diabetes sucks and you can handle it” by dr. Mark Heyman. Beyond Type 1. December 15, 2022. Accessed June 25, 2023. https://beyondtype1.org/diabetes-mental-health-management-book-heyman/.
  3. Diabetes sucks and you can handle it. Diabetes Sucks and You Can Handle It. Accessed June 25, 2023. https://www.thediabetespsychologist.com/book-2.
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