Pharmacists urged to provide mental health services


Yusuff Moshood

The International Pharmaceutical Federation has urged pharmacists to start providing mental health services, noting that their involvement will help reduce the global burden of mental health crises.

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is the global federation of national associations of pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, and pharmacy educators, and is in official relations with the World Health Organisation. 

The FIP made the call in a press statement it issued on Thursday and made available to PUNCH HealthWise.

According to the press statement, the global pharmacy body also released a handbook that will guide pharmacists that are providing mental health services.

The handbook, developed in collaboration with an international group of experts, aims to support pharmacy practice, presenting the many potential mental health care actions that pharmacists can perform, from preventing mental illness and screening for signs to optimising medication and responding to mental health crises. 

The reference guide is intended to accompany the handbook and defines the knowledge and skills that pharmacists need to acquire to provide such services. 

“It is estimated that 7 per cent of all global burden of disease and 19 per cent of all years lived with disability are attributable to mental and addictive disorders. 

“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the incidence of mental illness and reduced the availability of mental health services, but there was already a massive deficiency in mental health care that needed to be resolved in many countries before the pandemic. 

“We know that pharmacists can play a significant part in addressing these shortages and make a big difference in improving global health in this way,” said Mr. Paul Sinclair, chair of the FIP Board of Pharmaceutical Practice. 

“It is vital that we expand the health workforce that can flag mental health issues, provide mental health first aid, refer people with lived experience of mental illness to specialists and provide subsequent support. 

“Pharmacists’ accessibility and positive relationships with people in their communities can be utilised. 

“They can be and need to be engaged in mental health, and these two new FIP resources support them to do so,” Mr. Sinclair added.

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