Mental health: how pharmacists can contribute

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The increasing roles that pharmacists and their national associations are taking in mental health care are illustrated in a new document from the International Pharmaceutical Federation.

“Focus on mental health: The contribution of the pharmacist” was published on World Mental Health Day (October 10).

The document gives an overview of the areas in mental health care in which pharmacists are involved, including health promotion, early detection, triage, optimising treatment outcomes, education (including addiction prevention), shaping public policies, research and interprofessional practice.

Gaps in the mental health care have long been acknowledged and global initiatives to address these gaps include the movement towards universal health coverage, the World Health Organization’s Mental Health Gap Action Programme and the WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020.

“Delivery of these initiatives requires a different skill mix and a different attitude to health,” says  Gabriel Ivbijaro, President Elect of the World Federation for Mental Health.

“For many people experiencing mental health problems, pharmacists and family doctors are likely to be their first point of contact.

“Pharmacists have a significant role to play if we are to make mental health for all a global reality.”

Through its global network, FIP has drawn together numerous examples of pharmacy-led mental health activities from around the world and, through this new report, it is sharing them with the whole profession and stakeholders.

Professor Ivbijaro added: “This FIP ‘Focus on mental health’ report gives excellent examples of how pharmacists and pharmaceutical organisations are making a practical difference to mental health care, and we urge others to come on board and be active partners.”

“It is becoming increasingly recognised that a comprehensive approach is needed in mental health care,” says Luc Besançon, FIP CEO and General Secretary.

“This document helps to identify pharmacists as an important yet underused resource that can provide tremendous support to meet current and future challenges related to mental health.

“With this report, FIP encourages pharmacists and their associations, as well as stakeholders, to work towards good mental health around the globe,” Mr Besançon says.

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