Pharmacists’ Role in Mental Health Care: Exploring the Current State and Factors Impacting Service Provision
Pharmacists can have an essential role in providing care for patients with mental illness and addressing the significant and growing mental health care needs. There are gaps in the understanding of the current extent of Saskatchewan pharmacists’ involvement in caring for patients with mental illness and of their readiness to effectively provide this care. This study describes the current practices of Saskatchewan pharmacists in providing care to individuals with mental illness and assesses factors that may impact these practices. A cross-sectional, electronic survey was emailed to pharmacists in Saskatchewan, Canada. Pharmacists were recruited through the provincial advocacy bodies and were eligible if their current practice included direct patient care in any setting. Pharmacists were asked about their current extent of and attitudes toward providing specific clinical services for mental health patients. Other questions were asked to assess attitudes, beliefs, and potential barriers related to mental health care provision. Data was collected in Qualtrics XM and analyzed using descriptive statistics, Chi-Square tests for associations, and content analysis for free-text responses. One hundred forty-six pharmacists responded to the survey (response rate 9.1%). Fewer than 20% of respondents are providing listed clinical services to most or all patients with mental illness, except for providing basic medication education (61%). However, most agree it is a pharmacist’s role to provide these services, especially basic education (98%), monitoring therapy (94%), and performing comprehensive medication management (91%). Many pharmacists feel motivated to provide these services, and to a much higher degree than they currently are. The factors most frequently selected as having the greatest impact on service provision were insufficient knowledge (27%), competing priorities (19%), and inadequate staffing (15%). The majority of pharmacists had positive attitudes about providing mental health patient care and agree that pharmacists should have more of an active role. Saskatchewan pharmacists are well-positioned to enhance the care of patients with mental illness, although several barriers impede their ability to regularly provide clinical services. Further research and targeted funding should be prioritized to support pharmacists in providing this care and bridging the gaps to address the mental health crisis.
pharmacy practice, pharmacy, mental health, psychiatry, survey
Master of Science (M.Sc.)
Pharmacy and Nutrition