This survey of community pharmacists in Great Britain led by Kim Morral examines their mental health literacy in relation to three mental health conditions: depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The survey considers pharmacists’ mental health literacy in terms of their awareness of mental health conditions and interventions.
A survey instrument was sent by facsimile to a random sample of community pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales. The survey instrument contained items concerning recognition of the symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, the helpfulness of a range of interventions, mental health stigma and the degree of comfort providing pharmaceutical care to people with mental health problems.
Among community pharmacists (n=339) symptom recognition was high for depression but lower for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Pharmacists showed a preference for evidence-based interventions and support for psychological therapies and physical activity for all three mental health problems. Pharmacists expressed less comfort providing pharmacy services to people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression than cardiovascular disease. Mental health stigma was higher for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder than depression, with many pharmacists holding misperceptions about schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The study findings indicate the need for enhanced mental health content in the undergraduate pharmacy curriculum which should challenge misperceptions of mental illness.
This is the first study to investigate the MHL of British community pharmacists.
Key words: mental health literacy, mental health stigma, community pharmacy
Article Classification: Research paper