What could UK community pharmacy teams learn from the United States and Canada about their role in suicide prevention?

Hayley Gorton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


As frontline healthcare professionals, community pharmacy teams are likely to come into contact with people who are contemplating or planning suicide. As a 2018 recipient of a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust fellowship, support was provided to visit key pharmacy researchers in suicide in the United States and Canada to draw comparisons with the UK, to establish what community pharmacy teams can do to raise awareness and help prevent suicide and self-harm, and to produce a set of recommendations for the benefit of UK practice. After a four-week trip to New York, Washington and Nova Scotia in Canada meeting with pharmacy and suicide prevention researchers, third-sector organisations, psychiatrists and shadowing community pharmacists, two broad themes were evident. First, what is, or could be, the social, medical or holistic role of community pharmacy teams in suicide awareness or prevention? This mainly focused on the rapport pharmacy teams have with patients, evident in the Bloom Program. Potentially, UK pharmacy teams have more opportunities and the pharmacy environment seems more suitable for these discussions. Second, how are pharmacy teams involved in suicide and self-harm means restriction? Over-the-counter medicines were more accessible in the United States and Canada than in the UK. The state of Washington has combined both approaches in their mandatory training for pharmacists but the evaluation is yet to be published. From the perspective of their clinical and social roles, and restriction of access to means, there are opportunities to involve pharmacy teams in suicide prevention. Further research is required to define what evidence-based practice would look like.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalClinical Pharmacist
Issue number3
Early online date4 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


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