Diabetes meeting focuses on mental health

Chair George Van Ankum welcomed pharmacist Gail Choma to a recent diabetes information meeting held in Clifford.

Volunteers were thanked for keeping the branch office open Tuesday and Friday afternoons and for being branch representatives in their communities: Alice Van Ankum of Drayton; Nancy Dietrich, Cora Anne Morden, Audrey Morden, Henry Westendorp, Willa Westendorp of Harriston; Theresa Johnston of Atwood; Dorothy DeJong of Dundalk; Norma Madgett of Mount Forest; Everdina Bender of Listowel; Bonnie Whitehead of Clifford; and the newest recruit Bonnie Wilson of Fordwich.

George Van Ankum also expressed gratitude for those who offer to canvass and raise money during the annual residential campaign. Everyone praised George for continuing as chairman for the branch.

Alice Van Ankum discussed the benefits of membership in the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) and explained the assistance programs. Forms are available at the diabetes office.

Choma works at the Pharmasave in Harriston and is concerned about the mental health of each person who has diabetes. The stress of coping each moment of every day with diabetes is overwhelming, she stated. You can not take a break from diabetes, especially if you are Type 1 and rely on insulin to keep you alive and healthy, she added.

She focused on sadness, anxiety, depression and some of the ripple affects of more than a low blue mood. Good sleep, keeping active, altering your outlook, coping strategies and proper medications over time will all help to ease the burden of depression.

Perhaps, it is time to discuss your fears and get the facts about controlling your diabetes; she suggested talking with a health professional is a good place to start. A publication The emotional side of diabetes offers a look at ten things you need to know to help you manage your diabetes. Keeping blood sugars in good control and living a happy, healthier lifestyle was also recommended.

Coleen Bauman, Audrey Morden, and Henry Westendorp all won door prizes.

George Van Ankum encouraged everyone to look over the literature display set out by Bonnie Wilson. A light luncheon was prepared by Alice Van Ankum, Cora Anne Morden, and Audrey Morden.

This meeting was sponsored by the North Perth – North Wellington Branch of the Canadian Diabetes Association located at 94B Elora St. S. in Harriston, open Tuesdays and Fridays from 1:30 to 4:30pm.  Volunteers can be reached by calling 519-338-3181 or npnw@diabetes.ca.