New Beginnings Toolkit: Overview

Key points

  • New Beginnings: A Discussion Guide for Living Well With Diabetes helps people and their families manage the condition.
  • It uses stories, activities, and discussion to address the emotional impact of diabetes.
  • This toolkit can be used in diabetes support groups to help people and their families manage this condition.
  • Find out more about this guide and how facilitators can use it.
African American woman raising her arms

Diabetes in the United States

Millions of US adults have diabetes. It can lead to major health complications like heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, vision loss, and lower limb amputations. But people with diabetes can reduce their risk of these complications by managing their blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. They can also get preventive care for their eyes, ears, feet, teeth, and kidneys.

Diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) services help people reduce their risk of complications and improve their quality of life. DSMES teaches self-care behaviors like healthy eating, physical activity, blood sugar monitoring, and taking medicines as prescribed. It also teaches people how to set goals, reduce their risk of diabetes-related complications, solve problems, and improve their emotional well-being.

What is New Beginnings?

New Beginnings: A Discussion Guide for Living Well With Diabetes is a tool to help people with diabetes and their families take positive action to manage it. It's not a required component of DSMES services. But it can be used to supplement DSMES services. New Beginnings can also be used in diabetes support groups.

New Beginnings uses stories, activities, and facilitated discussion to address the emotional impact of diabetes. It focuses on helping people manage diabetes and build positive, supportive relationships. It's also tailored to the needs of Black adults because of the high rates of diabetes and of diabetes-related complications in this population.

New Beginnings is intended to:

  • Help group leaders facilitate discussions about the emotional side of living with diabetes.
  • Help people with diabetes identify family and social support needs and develop goal setting, positive coping, and problem-solving skills.

How to use this guide

The New Beginnings discussion guide has seven modules. Each module contains tools and questions for leading small group discussions with people with diabetes and their families. Topics include:

  • The emotional side of managing diabetes
  • Family support
  • Goal setting, stress management, and problem solving

Each module can be used alone, or as part of a series. Choose the activities and stories that will work best for your group and use them in any order.

In addition to the modules, New Beginnings includes seven "Connecting Threads." These group facilitator resources include information on topics that can be shared, depending on the needs of your participants.

How to facilitate online

Discussion leaders may be unable to bring your group together in-person. Or they may want to further the program's reach. Facilitating New Beginnings online is a great way to provide support to participants at home. Discussion leaders can still create a supportive and inclusive environment that encourages participants to live well and feel well with diabetes.

See the Connecting Thread: Facilitating New Beginnings Online for more information and the Going Virtual Tips in each module.

Who can use this guide?

New Beginnings can be used in diabetes support groups and diabetes education. This includes faith-based, community-based, worksite, and other group settings. Discussion leaders can be:

  • Diabetes care and education specialists (DCESs).
  • Health educators.
  • Community health workers.
  • Peer counselors.
  • Anyone experienced at leading support groups.

New Beginnings discussions don't provide medical advice. But it may help to have a DCES or other health care professional serve as an advisor to provide more information.

What is the ideal setting for a New Beginnings discussion group?

Discussions are designed for groups of up to 10 people. It can also be adapted for use with very large groups or a panel discussion.

New Beginnings discussions can take place anywhere that provides:

  • Privacy for the group.
  • Comfortable seating for all participants.
  • Equipment to play videos or audio, such as a computer and projector or laptop.