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National Diabetes Week 2020: Heads Up on diabetes

National Diabetes Week begins today and aims to address a burdensome side effect too many Australians with diabetes experience

The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Former Minister for Health and Aged Care

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National Diabetes Week begins today and aims to address a burdensome side effect too many Australians with diabetes experience.

The focus of National Diabetes Week 2020 is on the mental and emotional health issues faced by people with diabetes.

The Heads Up on Diabetes campaign will raise awareness of this burden and the support available.

In 2017-18, around 1.2 million Australians were living with diabetes.

In 2017, diabetes contributed to 17,000 Australian deaths with more than half of these, 55 per cent, due to preventable type 2 diabetes.

People with this condition make up to 180 diabetes-related health decisions every day. These decisions can range from managing daily blood sugar levels, food intake and exercise to the management of serious diabetes complications.

Almost 500,000 people with diabetes will experience issues with their mental or emotional health this year.

Improving the mental health of people who may be struggling, and suicide prevention, no matter where it occurs and under what circumstances, remains one of the Australian Government’s highest priorities.

The Government continues to invest in mental health so all Australians can get the help they need where and when they need it.

Since January, the Government has provided approximately $500 million in additional funding for mental health services and support, including $64 million for suicide prevention, $74 million for preventative mental health services, and $48 million to support the pandemic response plan.

Through record investments in mental health services and support, with expenditure estimated to be $5.2 billion this year alone, the Government continues to demonstrate its firm commitment to the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians.

The Government also continues to provide funding to Diabetes Australia to administer the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS).

The NDSS supports timely, reliable and affordable access to products and services that help people with diabetes to manage their condition.

Currently, approximately 1.5 million Australians are registered on the NDSS.

The Government has recently extended funding for the NDSS for a further 12 months, until 30 June 2021. This brings total funding over the past five years to more than $222 million.

Through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, expenditure on medicines for diabetes totals more than $582 million and expenditure on products for diabetes supplied through the NDSS is more than $183 million a year.

On 1 March 2020, 58,000 Australians with type one diabetes benefitted from free access to the FreeStyle Libre flash glucose monitoring system, thanks to the Government’s $300 million Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Initiative.

Without Government subsidy, Australians would normally pay $92.50 every two weeks for the glucose monitoring system – over $2,400 per year.

The most important message during National Diabetes Week is that mental health support is available and people with diabetes and their families do not have to face this illness and its consequences alone.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.

National Diabetes Week 2020 is from 12–17 July. For more information about the Heads Up on Diabetes campaign, please visit

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