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Mental health first aid training needs of Australian community pharmacists


Kirschbaum, M and Peterson, G and Bridgman, H, Mental health first aid training needs of Australian community pharmacists, Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 8, (3) pp. 279-288. ISSN 1877-1297 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Elsevier Inc

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.cptl.2016.02.015


Background: Pharmacists are highly accessible health care professionals and have regular interactions with consumers that suffer acute mental illness. Though pharmacists are trained in psychopharmacology, they lack formal mental health intervention skills. A solution to address this gap is to up-skill pharmacists in mental health first aid (MHFA).

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to establish the mental health first aid training needs for Australian rural pharmacists in the community setting. In addition, barriers to pharmacists providing MHFA support were ascertained.

Methods: This study was conducted in two parts. First, semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight rural community pharmacists to ascertain enablers and barriers to MHFA training. Second, an online survey was conducted to assess the attitudes of pharmacists to MHFA and their training requirements. Data from the interviews were thematically analyzed.

Results: Six major themes were identified including evolving role of the pharmacist, importance of relationships, complexity of mental health, need for training in MHFA, low confidence and barriers to assisting in acute mental illness. Pharmacists were accepting of the need for MHFA, but expressed concern over their lack of training, time and resources. The survey results also supported these findings.

Conclusions: Pharmacists supported MHFA training, but expressed difficulties in balancing professional and business responsibilities. Given that pharmacists are accessible and regularly exposed to mental health, MHFA training should be a core component of pharmacists’ training and their primary health care role. Further research is needed to evaluate the benefits of such training in terms of the consumers’ mental health outcomes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:mental health first aid, pharmacist training, community pharmacy
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences
Research Field:Clinical pharmacy and pharmacy practice
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Kirschbaum, M (Mr Mark Kirschbaum)
UTAS Author:Peterson, G (Professor Gregory Peterson)
UTAS Author:Bridgman, H (Dr Heather Bridgman)
ID Code:112477
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2016-11-11
Last Modified:2018-02-07

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