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Mental health and kidney disease

If you have been diagnosed with kidney disease, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Read how to manage depression to help your emotional wellbeing

A woman writes down on a form as a man speaks

Mental health and kidney disease

If you have been diagnosed with kidney disease, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Many people experience a range of emotions including frustration, despair, fear, a sense of lack of control and depression, especially if you require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Anxiety is not limited to your diagnosis. It’s common to have good days and bad days throughout your kidney disease journey. For example, you may feel an onset of stress when you:

  • notice changes day-to-day due to reduced kidney function
  • progress to another stage of kidney disease
  • start and undergo treatment.

Managing your emotional wellbeing

There are some things you can do to help yourself cope. Some emotions only last for a short time. It’s OK to be angry, sad or fearful, or to cry, shout or withdraw occasionally. However, it’s not OK for this to continue all the time.

Physical activity, a healthy diet, supporting others, hobbies and being involved in a community can help to keep your mind and body healthy. Talking with others who have had similar experiences may also help you, especially if they are now back in control of their lives and doing well.

A loved one or a trusted health professional can also provide support. Social workers and psychologists are trained to listen to your worries and help you find solutions. There is nothing wrong with asking your doctor for a referral.

If you’d like immediate help, you can speak to someone by calling the Beyond Blue Infoline on 1300 224 636. You can also visit for further information on depression and anxiety.

Treating depression

It may help to know that depression is treatable. Effective treatment will improve your feelings of wellbeing and your general health.

There are many treatment options to suit you including medical treatment, alternative therapies and religious or spiritual methods.

A man and woman in a therapy session with a health professional

Treatment options

Connect with the kidney community

There are many kidney support groups around the country and online for patients, parents and carers to connect with others going through a similar experience.

Gathering with other members of the community can help people feel less alone in their journey. It also allows those affected by kidney disease to connect with like-minded individuals who face similar challenges.

Learn more