Pharmacists in drought-affected NSW are to be offered mental health training to help their patients
The NSW Government has announced a $1 million pilot scheme to deliver mental health training to pharmacists and staff.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the funding will help pharmacy staff better understand mental health issues such as suicide, depression and trauma.
“With the ongoing impact of drought, bushfires and COVID throughout the regions, our communities are dealing with financial stress and uncertain times,” Mr Barilaro said.
“We want to provide more opportunities for people to talk with health professionals about their mental health.
“Every conversation that helps a person’s mental health is the opportunity to save, or improve, a life.”
Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the training would begin in September and deliver a 5000 strong legion of trained pharmacists in drought-affected areas.
“In regional areas, pharmacists are often the first to notice someone in mental distress,” Mrs Taylor said.
“This training will give pharmacists the tools to support the community, from immediate care through to finding the most appropriate specialist services.”
President of the Pharmacy Guild’s NSW Branch David Heffernan said pharmacists in regional and rural areas are well placed to begin a conversation about mental health.
“We want to be part of the broader effort to tackle stigma and promote help-seeking at a local level.” Mr Heffernan said.
The training will be run by the NSW Branch of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and pharmacists will be able to display a ‘mental health safe space sticker’ in their pharmacy.
NSW PSA President, Chelsea Felkai, said that, “There is increasing recognition that pharmacists are perfectly positioned to provide mental health services to their patients”.
“The PSA and Guild in NSW worked closely together on securing this important initiative.”