New Beginnings

New Beginnings: A Discussion Guide for Living Well With Diabetes

African American woman wearing exercise clothes celebrating

About 38 million adults in the United States have diabetes. It is a major cause of heart disease and stroke and the leading cause of kidney failure, nontraumatic lower limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults. The good news is that people with diabetes can reduce their risk of these complications by managing their blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood lipids (cholesterol). They can also get preventive care for their eyes, ears, feet, teeth, and kidneys.

Diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) services provided by a diabetes care and education specialist (DCES) play an important role in helping people with diabetes reduce their risk of complications and improve their quality of life. In addition to teaching self-care behaviors such as healthy eating, physical activity, blood glucose monitoring, and taking medicines properly, DSMES services include goal setting, reducing risks of diabetes-related complications, problem solving, and developing strategies to improve emotional well-being.

New Beginnings: A Discussion Guide for Living Well With Diabetes is a tool to help people with diabetes and their family members take positive action to manage the disease. New Beginnings is not a required component of delivering DSMES services but can be used to supplement the provision of DSMES services as well as in diabetes support groups.

New Beginnings uses stories, activities, and facilitated discussion to address the emotional impact of diabetes. It focuses on helping people with diabetes and their families manage diabetes and build positive, supportive relationships. It is tailored to the needs of African Americans—given the higher rates of diabetes and of diabetes-related complications in this population group. This guide 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
Facilitating New Beginnings Online

When faced with a situation where you may be unable to bring your group together in-person or you want to further your program reach, facilitating New Beginnings online is a great way to provide support to your participants at home.

Even if you cannot meet in person, you can still create a supportive and inclusive environment that empowers your participants to live well and feel well with diabetes.

See the Connecting Thread: Facilitating New Beginnings Online [PDF – 221 KB] for more information and the Going Virtual Tips in each module.

How to use this guide?

The discussion guide has seven modules with tools and questions for leading small group discussions with people who have diabetes and their family members. Topics include:

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

Who can use this guide?

New Beginnings can be used with faith-based, community-based, worksite, and other diabetes support groups, whether in-person or online. Discussion leaders can be diabetes care and education specialists (DCESs), health educators, community health workers, peer counselors, or anyone experienced at leading support groups.

New Beginnings discussions do not focus on giving medical advice, but it may be helpful to have a DCES or other health care professional serve as an advisor and participate in some sessions to provide more information.

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

New Beginnings discussions can take place anywhere that provides privacy for the group, comfortable seating for all participants, and equipment to play the videos or audio, such as a computer and projector or a mobile device.

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

How can I use this guide?

Each module can stand alone, or they may be used together 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 in the New Beginnings sessions, depending on the needs of your participants.