Today is World Mental Health Day, and the PSS is encouraging all pharmacists to take time to focus on their own mental health and wellbeing
The Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) reports that it continues to receive an increasing number of calls, reaching a total of 318 calls for July 2017 to June 2018, compared to 266 the previous year.
Executive Officer, Kay Dunkley, says that this is a significant workload for the team of volunteers who take all calls on top of their regular day-to-day responsibilities.
Seventy-nine percent of callers are registered pharmacists, 13% interns, 5% students and the remainder are family or friends of pharmacists.
“The most frequent issues discussed are workplace issues, stress, legal and ethical issues, workplace relationships and mental health,” says Ms Dunkley.
“Early career pharmacists continue to be the most frequent group calling PSS.”
However she points out that although call numbers have increased, it is likely that increased awareness of the service is the main reason for the increased call numbers.
“Mental health is not just the absence of mental illness,” explains the PSS.
“It is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
“Pharmacists spend a lot of time looking after the needs of others and to be able to maintain this without burning out, it is essential to take steps to maintain mental health by managing stress through a healthy lifestyle including: regular exercise, a healthy diet, adequate sleep, and ensuring sufficient time for relaxation and pleasurable activities with friends and loved ones.”
The PSS telephone is answered by volunteers who are experienced pharmacist or retired pharmacists who have undertaken training in crisis support counselling.
Anonymous and confidential support is available by phoning 1300 244 910 between 8am and 11pm (EST) every day of the year.