Diabetic Support at WHWC focuses on mind, body and spirit

By Jorge Luna Jr., LMSW, Behavioral Health & Social Work Supervisor

In my profession, I often encounter individuals with diverse feelings. I must educate my clients about how to recognize their triggers and healthy ways to manage them. I also work with caregivers because they are directly affected. It’s important to talk about feelings and emotions—the general thoughts a patient has about him or herself and their condition. When an individual is living with illness, or caring for someone who suffers from a chronic ailment, the journey can be scary, lonely and exhausting. It’s my job to help the patient and their families manage these feelings in a healthy way. I call it providing holistic support—mind, body and spirit.

Recently I led a six-week support group at MHM’s Wesley Health & Wellness Center for patients living with diabetes and their families. With the San Antonio diabetic population rising over 14 percent—which is double the national average of 7 percent according to the American Diabetes Association—the group was a very timely resource. The purpose was to help the patients better understand their personal thoughts, feelings and goals while coping with the chronic issues associated with diabetes. Using the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy concept, the main goal was to help all the participants understand how their state of mind affects their overall health and wellbeing. At the end of the session, participants left with new skills to recognize harmful and negative thought patterns, understand the importance of self-care and how to effectively manage stress.

Topics discussed during the diabetic support group included: Understanding Depression; Identifying Healthy Coping Skills to Manage Stress; Acknowledging Spirituality in the Healing Process; and Healthy Aging.

My favorite part of the group has been the opportunity to learn from the group members themselves as they openly share about their personal experiences. The personal testimonials from the group were both inspiring and touching. I look forward to the next session.