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University Toolkit: New friends

How to help your friends understand your type 1 diabetes so they can support you in an emergency.
Content last reviewed and updated: 18.10.2023

A group of three flatmates chatting and laughing in their shared kitchen at university

You will be meeting lots of new people as you settle into university and it’s entirely up to you who you tell about your type 1 diabetes. Even if you don’t want many people to know, it is a really good idea to tell your flatmates so they know what to do in an emergency. It can be embarrassing for some but not doing so may lead to new friends misinterpreting signs of hypoglycaemia. Tell key people such as roommates or neighbours in halls, course leaders and Hall Wardens.

What to tell your flatmates:

  • A simple explanation of what type 1 diabetes is and what you need to do each day
  • What hypoglycaemia is and your typical symptoms
  • How to treat a low blood glucose level
  • When to call 999
    • If your flatmates find you unconscious or having a seizure at any time, even after partying
    • You have altered breathing
  • Make sure your room-mates and those close to you know where to find your emergency supplies of glucagon etc.

An information sheet for flatmates can be found at the end of this toolkit. There is also a more detailed booklet available for friends who want to know more about type 1 diabetes. You can print these guides off or send them electronically.

In partnership with:

Diabetes UK, NHS England and NHS Norwich and Norfolk University Hospitals partner logos