A qualitative exploration of mental health services provided in community pharmacies

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Abstract

The burden of mental health problems continues to grow worldwide. Community pharmacists’, as part of the primary care team, optimise care for people living with mental illness. This study aims to examine the factors that support or hinder the delivery of mental health services delivered in Australian community pharmacies and proposes ideas for improvement. A qualitative study was conducted comprising focus groups with community pharmacists and pharmacy staff across metropolitan, regional, and rural areas of New South Wales, Australia. Data were collected in eight focus groups between December 2020 and June 2021. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis. Thirty-three community pharmacists and pharmacy staff participated in an initial round of focus groups. Eleven community pharmacists and pharmacy staff participated in a second round of focus groups. Twenty-four factors that enable or hinder the delivery of mental health services in community pharmacy were identified. Participant’s perception of a lack of recognition and integration of community pharmacy within primary care were identified as major barriers, in addition to consumers’ stigma and lack of awareness regarding service offering. Suggestions for improvement to mental health care delivery in community pharmacy included standardised practice through the use of protocols, remuneration and public awareness. A framework detailing the factors moderating pharmacists, pharmacy staff and consumers’ empowerment in mental health care delivery in community pharmacy is proposed. This study has highlighted that policy and funding support for mental health services is needed that complement and expand integrated models, promote access to services led by or are conducted in collaboration with pharmacists and recognise the professional contribution and competencies of community pharmacists in mental health care. The framework proposed may be a step to strengthening mental health support delivered in community pharmacies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0268259
JournalPLoS One
Volume17
Issue number5 May
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

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