On Feb. 6, the Canadian Diabetes Association introduced a new community initiative called D-Chat—a free and confidential telephone-based personal mentoring program available to those newly-diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in British Columbia and Yukon. The goal of the program is to empower and guide participants with type 2 diabetes towards a path of healthy living by having them regularly connect with a peer mentor.
“We are excited to now offer this unique support program and encourage newly-diagnosed individuals with type 2 diabetes in BC and Yukon to participate,” says Leanne Morgan, senior manager, community programs and partnerships (BC and Yukon) at the Canadian Diabetes Association. “Finding out you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes can be an unforgettable moment in one’s life. Having a mentor share their own experiences of managing their diabetes, while providing supportive tips and suggestions can help someone newly-diagnosed alleviate the stress of figuring out the best ways to adjust.”
D-Chat matches individuals newly-diagnosed with type 2 diabetes with a volunteer mentor also living with type 2 diabetes for helpful casual one-on-one phone chats over a period of six weeks. Once an individual registers, a trained volunteer will phone them to answer their questions, offer information about local resources and share experiences. D-Chat volunteers do not provide medical advice, instead they share their personal experiences and support on how best to navigate the health care system.
David DeVore, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2001 and is a peer mentor for D-Chat, says diabetes care programs truly helped him manage his diabetes within the first year of his diagnosis. With support, David was able to use diet and physical activity to help control his weight, blood glucose levels, hypertension and high cholesterol.
“It is easy enough to find a list of what we should be doing, but often those recommendations require major changes from a lifetime of existing eating and exercise habits. Gaining personal perspectives from others who are also living with the disease is crucial—you can talk about challenges, frustrations and successes,” says David DeVore. “Making significant lifestyle changes can be difficult. Strategies in managing type 2 diabetes that have worked for others can be really valuable.”
Those recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can register today by phone at 1-800-BANTING (226-8464) or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Callers will be asked to complete a questionnaire when they register and are then matched to a volunteer peer mentor. More information is available at diabetes.ca/dchat.
The Canadian Diabetes Association gratefully acknowledges ONETOUCH® as a proud supporter of D-Chat.