News

Pharmacy must be central to mental health care

We’re calling for pharmacists to be at the forefront of supporting the mental health of those affected by COVID-19.

Pharmacy’s role in mental health and wellbeing: COVID-19 and beyond calls for the expertise and clinical knowledge of pharmacists to be better used to support people with mental health problems. It recommends pharmacists, in collaboration with health and social care colleagues, play a central role in:

  • Identifying people struggling with their mental health and wellbeing
  • Increasing access to support for people experiencing poor mental health
  • Supporting patients with prescribed medicines
  • Supporting communication across health care settings for effective transfer of care

Sandra Gidley, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said:

“Covid-19 has been an extremely tough period for our communities and the consequences to mental health are profound.

“The experience of illness and grief caused by the outbreak, together with isolation, economic instability and sudden changes to everyday life, have severely affected the nation’s mental health. The pandemic has affected people with existing mental health conditions and created a whole new level of depression and distress in those previously unaffected. 

“We want pharmacists fully equipped to respond and feel confident to do so. The only way to manage the potential tsunami of mental health needs is as part of a co-ordinated approach in collaboration with other agencies and healthcare colleagues. We truly are ‘all in this together’ and must work across the NHS to support each other and the health of those affected by the pandemic.”

Get training and signpost others on how to help people with mental health issues here.

And for you: visit our wellbeing hub for members.

For personal advice about your own mental health and wellbeing, you can also contact Pharmacist Support, the independent charity for pharmacists.

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Your dedication and commitment during the pandemic has been exceptional.

As we brace for a surge of coronavirus infections, we know that pharmacy will be at the forefront of delivering healthcare.

Whether it’s flu vaccinations or dealing with local lockdowns we need decisions and assurances from the Government to make sure our profession can cope. We must make sure pharmacists get enough supplies of PPE, rapid access to testing in all care settings, and the recognition you deserve.

You told us that our leadership and resources during in the early months of the pandemic were of critical importance. We are now updating our highly valued COVID-19 resources and training webinars to make sure they reflect current - and changing - guidance.

If the enormous mental and physical strain of the past few months is repeated ahead of this winter, the health service will be on its knees. We will be there to make sure pharmacists get mental health and wellbeing support.

We will continue to work hard to give you the tools and guidance to do your job safely. And fight to make sure you get the recognition you deserve.
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