Trade for prosperity

A look at mental health and pharmacy plus highlighting the work of three mental health charities across the UK

It is vital that people with mental health problems receive the care and treatment they are entitled to, and pharmacies are in a great position to provide support. 

Conveniently located on high streets and in the heart of communities, they are particularly important in the early detection of mental health and wellbeing problems.

Through supported housing, community wellbeing support and addiction services, Inspire have supported more than 5,200 people in communities across Ireland

The relative informality of pharmacies means it can be a good place to open up a conversation about mental health. There are also consultation rooms where you can discuss matters without being overheard. 

For some isolated people, a pharmacist might be the only person they talk to all week. By meeting the same people regularly in the pharmacy, pharmacy teams often spot the early signs of mental illness such as depression or dementia and signpost people to other forms of support in the area. 

As experts in medicines and how they are used, pharmacists can help people get the best outcomes from their drugs, reduce adverse reactions and minimise unplanned admissions to hospital. 

They can be a vital source of advice for people taking medication for mental illness for the first time, and when people come off medication. 

For those people using medicines to manage their mental health, non-adherence can be a challenge, especially for those with severe symptoms. Poor adherence can result in worse outcomes and can lead to the need for further intervention or even hospital admission. The expert medicines skills of pharmacists mean they are best placed to provide effective support.

Pharmacies can also help maintain mental health in terms of looking after patients’ general health and wellbeing, for example by providing support to stop smoking.

Many pharmacy teams are trained dementia-friendly carers, and those pharmacists work together in a co-ordinated way. They do not diagnose but are very good at spotting changes in people’s healthcare.

Careful monitoring of requests for over-the-counter medicines (e.g. anti-anxiety or sedative products, analgesics and laxatives) and signs and symptoms identified during consultations can suggest a decline in a person’s mental health or wellbeing.

MAJOR MENTAL HEALTH CHARITIES ACROSS THE UK

Mind 

Mind is a mental health charity in England and Wales. Founded in 1946 as the National Association for Mental Health, it raises public awareness and understanding of mental health issues and offers information and advice to anyone with a mental health problem as well as lobbying government, nationally and locally, to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. 

The charity campaigns on a range of issues that could affect anybody with a mental health problem such as health services, legislation, protection of legal rights and employment. 

There is an Infoline, on 0300 123 3393, which offers help for the price of a local call. The Legal Line, on 0300 466 6463, has information on mental health related law for the public, service users, family members/carers, mental health professionals and mental health advocates. Both lines are confidential services.

Inspire Wellbeing Northern Ireland

Inspire is an all-island charity and social enterprise working together with people living with mental ill health, intellectual disability, autism and addictions across Ireland, to ensure they live with dignity and realise their full potential. 

Their person-centred, whole-society approach means they believe in a culture of compassion, creating a society free from stigma that focuses on people and their abilities. 

Inspire delivers a full range of support and therapeutic services. Through supported housing, community  wellbeing support and addiction services, Inspire have supported more than 5,200 people in communities across Ireland. The professional services team provides all-island employee and student support to more than 350 organisations, resulting in 49,000-plus counselling sessions delivered. 

For mental health support or signposting information for you or someone you know you can contact Inspire on 0808 189 0036. This line is available Monday to Friday 10am-1pm. 

Mind raises public awareness and understanding of mental health issues and offers information and advice to anyone with a mental health problem as well as lobbying government, nationally and locally, to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding

Scottish Association FOR MENTAL HEALTH

SAMH currently operates more than 60 services in communities across Scotland providing mental health social care support, addictions and employment services, among others. These services together with national programme work in See Me, Respect Me, suicide prevention, physical activity and sport; and inform SAMH’s policy and campaign work to influence positive social change. 

The SAMH Information Service team can connect callers with local mental health support and information. It operates from 9am-6pm Monday to Friday (except bank holidays). Email info@samh.org.uk or call 0344 800 0550.

SAMH currently operates more than 60 services in communities across Scotland providing mental health social care support, addictions and employment services, among others

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