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FIP encourages pharmacists to expand roles in ‘much-needed’ mental health services

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The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has published two new handbooks to support pharmacists in providing ‘much-needed’ mental health services.

The federation unveiled “Mental healthcare — A handbook for pharmacists” and “Knowledge and skills reference guide for professional development in mental health care” on Thursday July 7.

The handbooks, developed in collaboration with an international group of experts, aim 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 seven 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 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 to improving global health in this way,” said 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 utilized. They can be and need to be engaged in mental health, and these two new FIP resources support them to do so,” Paul added.

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