American Diabetes Association® and American Psychological Association Announce First-Ever Directory of Mental Health Professionals with Specific Knowledge About Diabetes


Michelle Kirkwood

Arlington, Virginia
April 25, 2018

More than 100 mental health providers or psychologists received diabetes-specific education and training in 2017, and are listed in new online directory 

Acknowledging the complex environmental, social, behavioral and emotional issues―known as psychosocial factors―that impact people with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) partnered to build the ADA-APA Mental Health Provider Diabetes Education Program to prepare mental health providers with the knowledge and tools to treat these unique mental health challenges. The first professionals to complete the program in 2017, totaling more than 100, are now listed in The Mental Health Provider Referral Directory (Directory), a publicly accessible, online database launched this month.

People with diabetes experience higher rates of depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Acknowledging the limited number of licensed mental health providers with the experience to meet those needs, the ADA-APA partnership seeks to expand the number of professionals with knowledge of diabetes-related psychosocial factors, a growing need for the diabetes community. 

Licensed mental health professionals listed in the Directory have completed the ADA-APA Mental Health Provider Diabetes Education Program, consisting of a 7-hour, in-person course offered in 2017 at the ADA’s 77th Scientific Sessions or at the APA’s 2017 Annual Convention; a 5-hour online course; and completion of knowledge exams after each course. Licensed providers may also be included in the Directory if they can demonstrate at least two years of professional experience addressing the mental health needs of people with diabetes. 

Registration reached capacity for the first two offerings of the program in 2017, resulting in more than 100 mental health providers from 26 states being eligible for inclusion in the Directory. Two additional trainings will be held in 2018—at the ADA’s 78th Scientific Sessions on Thursday, June 21, and at the APA’s Annual Meeting on Sunday, August 5. The Mental Health Provider Diabetes Education Program and Directory are supported by a generous contribution from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The ADA first recommended routine screenings for psychosocial factors in people with diabetes and referral to a mental health provider with experience in diabetes when necessary in 2016, and the recommendations were included in the 2017 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes, the ADA’s annual guide to diabetes care, which was published in December 2016.

“As our first position statement on psychosocial care for people with diabetes in 2016 makes clear, mental health is a critical element of diabetes care. The psychosocial factors that people with diabetes face―which can develop from anxiety, food insecurity, financial hurdles to their care, and many other issues―require attention and support from professionals who understand the unique, day-to-day challenges of managing this chronic illness,” said ADA’s Chief Scientific, Medical and Mission Officer William T. Cefalu, MD. “The Directory is a vital resource, connecting people in need of care with providers specially trained in diabetes. We’re excited to offer this resource to the public and to increase the number of mental health professionals with the knowledge and training about the daily burdens of living with diabetes.”

To access the Mental Health Provider Directory, click here. Additional information about the Mental Health Provider Diabetes Education Program is available here.

About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)