Pharmacist and pharmacy students’ awareness and use of support resources for mental health: a cross-sectional survey

Hayley Gorton, H. Ahmed, S. Hyder, A. Laher, A. McAdam, A. Sidat, M. Tsogkaraki

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Pharmacy teams, particularly in community pharmacy, are beginning to be recognised as important contributors to mental health support and suicide prevention efforts. The need for appropriate referral and triage routes from pharmacy to other health and social care providers has been highlighted. (1) Support resources for mental health might provide a route for triage, including to third sector organisations. This will become increasingly important as antidepressants are included in the New Medicines Service (NMS). (2)

To explore the mental health support resources that pharmacists and pharmacy students are aware of; and identify if, and how, they use these resources in a professional or personal capacity.

Pharmacists and pharmacy students were invited to complete an anonymous, online questionnaire hosted via Qualtrics™ during February 2022. Participants were purposively sampled through personal and professional networks and convenience sampled through adverts on social media. A combination of open and closed questions were used to scope awareness and use of these mental health resources in pharmacy. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics, with comparative statistics used to compare findings based on role (pharmacists vs. pharmacy students).

There were 185 valid responses, although data were missing for some individuals for some questions. Forty-four responses were from pharmacists across sectors, with most working some or all their role in hospital (n=27). Pharmacy students (n=141) were from ten universities and with all years of study represented. Sixty-five percent of respondents identified major knowledge gaps about mental health and there was no difference based on role. Most participants had heard of, or used, Mind (n=116/163, 71%) and Samaritans (141/163, 87%) but not Hub of hope (21/161, 13%), Papyrus (n=45/161, 29%), Shout (49/162, 30%) or Togetherall (16/160, 10%). Pharmacists reported mixed frequencies of use of support resources with 31% (11/35) never having used them. Twenty percent (28/142) felt prepared to use resources, with no difference between pharmacists and pharmacy students. Most (128/140, 91%) advocated for more training on such resources.

This study uniquely explored the role of pharmacists’ and pharmacy students’ awareness and use of support resources. It will be biased by self-selected respondents. Whilst the wider pharmacy team were invited, too few responded for inclusion in this analysis. Respondents had variable awareness and use of mental health resources. The better known and used resources include two major UK charities (Mind and Samaritans). Training was advocated to help improve effective resource use. One under-recognised resources was Hub of Hope. This is a website or app where users can enter a postcode and search for resources for certain symptoms, diagnoses, or social circumstance. It will list contact details for organisation by closest distance. This might help pharmacy teams to identify and signpost individuals to local organisations, and understand what services are available close to the pharmacy location, whatever the pharmacy sector. This will may be particularly useful as community pharmacy services develop to support people with their mental health, including, but not limited to, services such as the NMS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)i19-i20
Number of pages2
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023
EventHealth Services Research and Pharmacy Practice Conference: Partnerships in Healthcare: Advancing Sustainable Medicines Optimisation - University of Bradford, Bradford, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Apr 202318 Apr 2023


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