According to research conducted by the Angus Reid institute, 23% of Canadians feel desolated. This means that they feel both isolated and lonely. At DMP, we believe this can be helped by joining online communities, therefore, finding the right diabetes community is important.
Being part of a community has the following benefits:
- Increases your sense of belonging
- Alleviates stress
- You are able to express yourself, including your emotions
- You feel supported
- It helps you cope more effectively during difficult times
- Increases connections and strengthens your network
For those living with diabetes this is especially important, as they deal with daily situations that others do not understand. A study showed that people who consider themselves as cherished described their current financial situation, mental health, and physical health as 35% higher than desolate people. Managing diabetes requires 24/7 attention and dealing with many unexpected or new situations.
Finding emotional support and knowing someone that is going through the same thing can help alleviate the sense of loneliness, frustration, and anguish felt by some diabetics. Therefore, you can find support in the right diabetes community. This sense of community helps facilitate adjustments to a new lifestyle, especially for the newly diagnosed. The pandemic has forced social gatherings to be restricted and is encouraging people to meet online. Here are some online communities that people can use to find support. By understanding how they work, you can select the ones that are more suitable for you according to your personality or what you are looking for.
Social Media Platforms
The most popular social media platforms at this time are Facebook and Instagram. On Facebook, you can find very specific groups on a variety of topics including things like diet or exercise for people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Its focus is to be informational and is more text-driven. The structure allows users to have discussions and receive advice from others. On the other hand, Instagram is beneficial due to its focus on visual content, intended to capture moments. You can have a sneak peek of the life of a person you find interesting, entertaining, or funny. It allows people to feel a little bit closer to them. For those living with diabetes, it helps them not feel so alone as they see relatable content that they can connect with.
Apps have a narrower target than social media and are more focused in their target audience. They are meant for people with similar interests and content is specifically tailored to that interest. For example, Beyond Type 1 is heavily focused on Type 1 diabetes. However, DMP (Diabetes Management Platform) has content structured for each type of diabetes (type 1 and type 2). The benefit of having an app like DMP is that it is specific to diabetics, and balances the need for educational content with community support. Individuals can connect with one another and make new friends.
Websites are the most traditional way to gain access to information and connect with others. While they can be highly informative (if they come from a reliable source), the level of interaction tends to be very low and impersonal. Many of these websites focused on diabetes include a section for blog posts where people can share their own stories. Trusted websites include JDRF or the American Diabetes Association where people with diabetes can learn new things and interact with one other.
As a result, finding an online diabetes community that matches your personality. While having diabetes can sometimes feel like a burden, finding peer support can make the journey more bearable.