Pharmacies helping mental health consumers

Professor Amanda Wheeler

Community pharmacy staff are being sought by Griffith University as part of a study to improve the role of the local pharmacy and meet the needs of people with mental illness.

The Mental Health and Community Pharmacy Project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health as part of the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement Research and Development Program managed by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. Aligned with the Australian Government’s focus on mental health as a National Health

Priority Area, the Mental Health and Community Pharmacy Project assists pharmacy staff to improve their skills to work with mental health consumers to get the best out of their medication.

Success in first round

Having already seen success with a first round of online and face-to-face training workshops, the pilot program will conclude by training a further 100 pharmacies across Queensland, WA and Northern NSW.

“We are seeking community pharmacy staff interested in working with consumers, carers, GPs and mental health professionals to improve optimal medicines management and
health outcomes through pharmacy professional services,” says study leader Professor Amanda Wheeler from the Griffith Health Institute.

The training is about building strong communication skills, assisting pharmacy staff to develop a medication support plan to assist mental health consumers with their medication
management and to evaluate the intervention’s effectiveness in a naturalistic pharmacy setting.

“To date, the research team has spoken with over 250 consumers and carers about their needs and pharmacy experience. This research capitalises on current consumer opinion
that describes community pharmacy as a more relaxed environment for consumers, one where information about treatment and other services can be freely discussed.”

Professor Wheeler stressed that the training is about pharmacies supporting the role of the GP. “This is about pharmacists working collaboratively with GPs and other mental health
professionals to ensure consumers get the best out of their medication.”

Pharmacy staff participating in the training receive professional development points and financial compensation, with subsidised travel and accommodation for anyone outside of
the capital cities. GPs will also benefit from professional development points, along with reimbursement for referrals to their community pharmacy.

Workshop dates for the training comprise:

Brisbane – 4th and 19th February
Perth – 19th February
Sydney CPD by the SEA – 22nd February

Pharmacy staff and other health professionals interested in taking part in the study or consumers and carers that feel they could benefit from a medication support plan are
asked to contact the Griffith team via:
Email: [email protected]
Phone toll free: 1800 600 687