Pharmacists and Mental Health First Aid training: A comparative analysis of confidence, mental health assistance behaviours and perceived barriers

Joseph A. Carpini, Aakanksha Sharma, Mikaela Kubicki Evans, Shaifuldeen Jumani, Emma Boyne, Rhonda Clifford, Deena Ashoorian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Pharmacists are aptly positioned to provide first aid-level assistance to patients experiencing a mental health problem or crisis, yet often lack confidence or perceive barriers to intervention. One potential solution is Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training-an evidence-based psycho-educational programme. This study evaluates MHFA training within pharmacy by (1) assessing pharmacists' perceptions of the prevalence of patients experiencing a mental health-related problem or crisis, (2) investigating whether MHFA is associated with increased confidence, intervention and assistance quality and (3) examining perceived intervention barriers.

Methods: Pharmacists working in Australia were surveyed. The survey included validated measures and research objectives were assessed using descriptives and ANOVAs.

Results: One hundred sixty-one pharmacists were included; 90 MHFA trained and 71 untrained. Overall, 86% of reported encountering at least one patient perceived to be experiencing a mental health problem or crisis in the last year. MHFA trained pharmacists reported being more confident, with notable differences in their confidence to recognize signs, approach and ask someone about suicide. Pharmacists did not intervene similar to 25% of the time in which a problem/ crisis was identified. When they did intervene, results suggest the assistance was similar in content. Intervention barriers were reported to impede MHFA trained pharmacists significantly less than untrained pharmacists.

Conclusion: Results suggest pharmacists frequently encounter patients experiencing a mental health problem or crisis and that MHFA training may support pharmacists in helping these patients. Future research can utilize experimental methods to provide causal evidence as to the utility of MHFA training for pharmacists and patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-680
Number of pages11
Journal Early Intervention in Psychiatry
Volume17
Issue number7
Early online date6 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

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