Pioneering student support for diabetes announced

  • Date

    Thu 18 Apr 24

portrait photo of Professor Gijsbert Stoet

Diabetic students across the UK are set to be helped by a new innovative programme developed by University of Essex researchers.

Writing in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Professor Gijsbert Stoet and colleagues announced the pioneering ADAPT programme, which aims to lower the risk of hospitalisation, increase wellbeing, and raise awareness of type 1 diabetes.

The Department of Psychology senior academic worked with Dr Catherine Kerr in School of Sport, Rehabilitation, and Exercise Sciences and Dr Lingqing Jiang from the Department of Economics on the scheme.

The letter in the prestigious journal comes after the team established support groups on campus that aim to unite and support struggling students.

One in four hospitalised

Professor Stoet was inspired to launch the groundbreaking programme after previous studies discovered more than half of UK university students with type 1 diabetes found it harder to manage their condition after leaving home and one in four were hospitalised for diabetes during their studies.

Worryingly nearly, 91% never or rarely contacted university support services despite the issues they face.

Professor Stoet said: “As previous research also showed, we know that the challenges for students with type 1 diabetes are considerable.

“Surprisingly, there is little additional coordinated support for these students at universities.

“For example, our survey with all UK universities found that we are, to the best of our knowledge, the only university in the UK that provides staff-led group support for this group. It seems to us that they are a forgotten group.

“Improving their support can enormously benefit these students, and it is not overly complex to do so.”

Diabetes friendly

The hope is that ADAPT helps us to make all UK universities diabetes friendly. This includes providing better reasonable adjustments during exams and working toward providing carbohydrate information in canteens and food outlets.

The ADAPT programme sees students supported across their university journey.

Adapt means:

A - Age-appropriate care and supervision acknowledges ongoing brain development in this age group.

D - Diabetes education is delivered on campus.

A - Academic Support is provided in line with their condition.

P- Psychological support is provided in the form of a group for students with diabetes led by both academic and clinical staff. This group allows them to talk about their challenges and to make friends with the same condition.

T -Together. The ADAPT programme’s main accomplishment is that a collaborative network has been established between academic teams, student services, associated health facilities, and the students themselves.

It is hoped the programme will be adapted and expanded across universities to help transform and secure the future of students with the condition.

Other universities are encouraged to adopt this approach as well and certify their approach using the ADAPT website 

Letters published in the Correspondence section represent the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of The Lancet journals.


Letters to the Editor are not normally externally peer reviewed.