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Psychological health & IBD

Use our wellbeing checklist to start a conversation with your doctor.

Research shows a significant association between symptoms of depression and/or anxiety and flare ups in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)*. This is because the brain and gut are in constant conversation through a network of neural, hormonal and immunological messages and if you are living with IBD, these lines of communication are disturbed.

A survey of people living with IBD in Australia found that whilst half of those who responded had signs of mental distress, only 16% had ever been directly asked about their psychological health by their doctor**.

For Luke, managing his wellbeing is a constant priority after being diagnosed with IBD at 14.

How do I start a conversation?

It can be overwhelming and a bit stressful to start a conversation with your doctor about how you’re feeling – but it is important to know you are not a burden when you want to talk about how you are feeling.

For Daniel, knowing he can talk about what’s on his mind with his doctor helps

It is normal to feel a bit down or anxious about your IBD and your healthcare professional can provide a safe space for you to share how you are feeling and provide support when you need it.
Simply filling out this wellbeing checklist can be a good starting point. Taking it along to your next appointment can help start a conversation.

For Catherine, being kind to herself and being open with her doctor is key to helping her feel in control of her IBD

Where can I find further support?

There are a number of places you can visit for support, advice or just a friendly ear.

For 24/7 counselling or crisis support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Beyond Blue Support Service on 1300 22 46 36.

You can maintain a healthy mind and a healthy body by working with your healthcare professional hand in hand.

So start a conversation today.

This information has been developed in partnership with Janssen Australia and New Zealand. It is provided for education and information purposes only and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional.


* Mikocka-Walus, A. et al. Clinical Gastroenterology and Heptaology, Volume 14, Issue 6, 829-835.e1
** Crohn’s and Colitis Australia. My IBD Experience – Research Report 2018

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