Filling the Forgotten Gaps in Care – JDRF Canada Launches Strategy for Mental Health and Type 1 Diabetes

TORONTO, September 28, 2021 — 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin in Toronto. Earlier this year, in honour of this anniversary, JDRF Canada, the largest charitable funder of type 1 diabetes (T1D) research in Canada, launched its $100M Campaign to Accelerate to build upon a long legacy of outstanding Canadian diabetes research, accelerating towards cures and improving the lives of those living with T1D. Today, JDRF Canada is launching a key pillar of its $100M Campaign to Accelerate and announcing a $2M fundraising campaign to support the development of its first mental health strategy.

T1D is an autoimmune disease that can be diagnosed at any age, but frequently presents in childhood. People living with T1D must follow a strict lifelong treatment plan that includes constant blood sugar monitoring, counting carbohydrates and taking insulin multiple times a day to stay alive. T1D can also affect a person’s emotional, social, and behavioural wellbeing throughout their lifetime, known collectively as psychosocial health. For example, one in five youth with T1D suffer from anxiety and, compared to those without the condition, people with diabetes are more likely to experience depression or develop an eating disorder.

“Mental health needs to be a larger part of care, especially for teens with diabetes. There is so much pressure socially, academically and hormonally and it’s hard to find anyone who understands the difficulty of managing diabetes on top of all of that”. Jenna, JDRF Youth Ambassador, diagnosed with T1D at age 12.

Traditional care of T1D primarily focuses on glucose control and mental health challenges of those living with the condition are often overlooked, which can contribute to poor overall health outcomes. 

“Mental health challenges together represent one of the most pervasive health issues affecting Canadians today. When you add a chronic condition like T1D, feelings of anxiety, stress and depression are often amplified, which can negatively affect physical health,” says Dr. Sarah Linklater, Chief Scientific Officer of JDRF Canada. “With a clear indication of the mental health strain this disease has on people living with T1D and the obvious gaps in care, it’s time to take action and that’s why we are raising $2M and launching our first mental health strategy.”

JDRF Canada’s mental health strategy will initially include five areas of focus: funding research to test psychosocial interventions, providing education about psychosocial issues in diabetes to health care providers, supporting postdoctoral fellowships for clinical psychologists in training, providing support and resources for people living with T1D, and developing a virtual training program about diabetes for registered mental health care providers. Impact in all of these areas will be amplified through partnerships with various diabetes and mental health organizations, some of which will extend the reach of these programs to people living with type 2 diabetes.

With the help of donors and our initial partners including Brain Canada, BD, iA Financial Group, Canucks for Kids and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, JDRF is well-positioned to take the lead on addressing gaps in care and tackling one of the most pervasive health issues facing Canadians with diabetes today. Together, we will provide a unified approach to helping families across Canada cope with all aspects of T1D.

About JDRF Canada

JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research. Our goal is to raise funds to support the most advanced international type 1 diabetes research and progressively remove the impact of this disease from people’s lives – until we achieve a world without type 1 diabetes. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, regulatory influence, and a working plan to better treat, prevent, and eventually cure type 1 diabetes. JDRF is the largest charitable funder of and advocate for research to cure, prevent and treat T1D in the world. For more information, please visit

For more information:

Vanessa Parent 
Bilingual Marketing & Communications Specialist at JDRF Canada
C: (647) 459-7881

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