The Pharmacy Post
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Helping Mental Health at Your Pharmacy
Mental health issues are on the rise in the United States, and while the causes can be debated, you as a pharmacist are in a position to help your customers, business, and staff with relatively small efforts. Patients struggling with mental health issues often see their pharmacist far more often than therapists and doctors, and as a result, you can spot signals and problems far more easily. Whether it’s through the behavior you see, the conversations you have, or low adherence rates you notice, being a high-touchpoint healthcare worker enables you to offer resources and intervention.
One of the most critical resources you can provide is screening medications for drugs that can worsen mental health conditions. Beta-blockers, benzos, stimulants, anti-convulsants, and drugs that affect hormones are just some that could be making mental health problems worse. Doctors also don’t always have a full accurate list of every medication a patient is taking, allowing you to spot contraindications and offer assistance. Low adherence rates for medications are a common problem among those struggling with mental health issues. Sometimes even a simple solution like offering daily pill organizers help keep customers on track.
Managing medications isn’t the only way to be a resource either. You should consider partnering with local psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health clinics, so you can better understand patients’ issues, as well as offer referrals to customers who may need to see a mental healthcare professional. By cultivating these relationships, you can strengthen your business with additional customers, as well providing much needed information to people in need. If a patient doesn’t want to visit an in-person facility, there are many online services and apps catering to mental healthcare needs ranging from medication management to talk therapy. Familiarize yourself with the most popular ones so you can point customers in their direction should in-person resources not be a desirable solution for them.
Being aware of mental health issues with your customers isn’t the only way you can help improve mental health in your community. Mental health problems among pharmacy employees is something easy to overlook—it’s a highly demanding, stressful job that often sees burnout with employees. Fostering an environment of open dialogue is key to making sure your employees aren’t masking frustration and problems you can get in front of. Insist on them taking breaks and time off work to rest and reset. If your staff knows you care about their mental wellbeing, you’ll have better, more productive employees who are able to assist your customers and by extension, your business.