The need for ‘peer support’

Youth living with diabetes, like all young folk, want to be happy, have a sense of self-worth, a feeling of accomplishment and enjoy life. They have an added wish and that is to learn to thrive, not just survive, in the face of their condition.

Youth living with diabetes face additional challenges in life including from time-to-time, a sense of isolation, maybe even ‘shame’ and on occasion, a feeling of being overwhelmed by the day-to-day demands of self-managing their condition. In school, they may be confronted with peer bullying and general humiliation arising from actions required to maintain essential self-management protocols.

Individuals who do not understand diabetes can easily, without meaning to, cause those living with diabetes to feel isolated and humiliated.

Support from family, friends, healthcare providers and teachers is essential but sometimes the well-intended ‘oversight’ can be wearisome. The amount of information provided by healthcare providers in relatively brief sessions can be somewhat ‘defeating’. The associated questions regarding adherence to essential protocols can be discouraging; perhaps leading to incomplete and inaccurate responses.

An opportunity for young folk to just ‘step aside’ from their normal routine and have a chance to informally and candidly share their experiences and feelings with peers who are also living with diabetes can make a positive difference in outlook, help to ‘keep things in perspective’, reduce the sense of isolation and contribute to an improved quality of life.

Find a peer support network

All of the groups identified below can provide opportunities for you to share your experiences with, and learn from, others who are living with diabetes.

Some have age range limitations and/or a specific geographic focus.

Some include healthcare professionals who can be available to answer questions. In every case, however, it is recommended that you consult your own healthcare provider for medical issues specific to your situation.

Courtesy, respect for others and a positive approach are the standard expectations for participation in any of these groups.

[If you know of other peer support networks for youth and young adults living with diabetes, please send us the details or contact data so we can consider adding it to this page. Send your input to Thank You.]


VPN – T1D (Virtual Patient Network) is a patient network for Canadians with Type 1 Diabetes age 14 — 24. This private Facebook group contains tools, information, videos, shared experiences of those with T1D and much more.

Here you can interact with people just like you from across Canada to help manage your condition – from discussing the latest news in diabetes to laughing over relatable jokes. VPN – T1D is here to give you everyday support.

VPN – T1D is administered by the team at the Dasgupta Diabetes Management and Prevention Research Group in the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada. They can help answer questions that may need professional expertise.

Join the group today!

Request to join the group at


email the Group at

For more information, visit:


I Challenge Diabetes(ICD) was founded by Olympian Chris Jarvis, to improve the lives of T1Ds in Canada. Their programs include Diabetes Sports Camps, Extreme Adventures, Family Camps, Leadership Retreats, a Kids in School program and various workshops.

Connecting all ages with mentors to help them with their personal struggles with diabetes is a key focus of the ICD programs.

ICD has developed different approaches for application of their programs to each of Teens, ‘Tweens’ and Wee Challengers age groups. They also provide opportunities for adults to connect, challenge, explore and/or to ‘give back’ by sharing their experience with younger folk living with diabetes.

Get more information!

email ICD:


   visit their web site:


Barrie T1D Club is a Facebook group specifically created to bring Type 1 families in Barrie and surrounding area together in a common space.

This is a space to share, ask questions, lean on other families for support, and to post events and social gatherings in Simcoe County in relation to T1D.

While all members can offer support and chat about treatment options, it is recommended that if you require medical advice specific to your situation that you speak with your clinic Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), Endocrinologist or Family Doctor.

To check your eligibility and learn more …

email Bethany at:


visit their web site:



McMaster Diabetes Association (MDA) aims to build awareness of diabetes at McMaster University. They host events and initiatives that focus on ending misinformation and stigma on campus, bringing recent research to light, and fundraising for other diabetes-related organizations. By offering such opportunities, MDA hopes to support, connect, and advocate for the diabetes community at McMaster.     For more information,

email, or follow them on Instagram/Facebook


The College Diabetes Network (CDN) is an American based non-profit organization whose mission is singularly focused on providing young adults with T1D the peer connections they value, and expert resources they need, to successfully manage the challenging transition to independence at college and beyond. Their flagship program consists of CDN Chapters – peer-based groups on university and college campuses in the U.S. and Canada.
Find a Chapter near you here.
There is an active chapter at the University of Toronto, Canada.
You can connect with the U of T chapter on their Instagram page.


Connected in Motion’s mission is to foster a community of people living with Type 1 diabetes through peer-based experiential diabetes education, sport, and outdoor adventure pursuits so that they may inspire one another to live life without limits. Connected in Motion envisions a community of healthy, active and educated people living with Type 1 diabetes who are supported and engaged in diabetes self-management.
CIM specializes in programs for adults, 18+, with Type 1 diabetes. Programs include Slipstream Retreats (Active, social and educational weekends for adults living with Type 1 diabetes); Adventure Programs (Off-the-grid programs that break down barriers to access to wild places); and an active Online Community (A place for the T1D community to connect and share between programs.).
visit their web site: