As Canadian organizations struggle to support employees who experience mental health issues, Canadian pharmacists are taking a more active role in mental health matters.

Dr. David Gardner, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacy at Dalhousie University, explains how pharmacists and client mental health are linked beyond medication during a presentation made at the Benefits Canada Mental Health Summit, held late last year.

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Using case studies to illustrate his point, he explained in one example, that during a medication review, a pharmacist in Nova Scotia discovered that a 50-year-old woman was contemplating suicide due to a recent personal loss. The pharmacist made use of a tool called the Navigator to help her find a suitable counsellor. She had her first grief counselling appointment within a week.

This tool wasn’t part of any special program that the pharmacy had in place; the pharmacist simply knew what free industry resources were available and was able to think on his feet.

Gardner also cited several global studies indicating that those with mental health issues who receive support services from pharmacists have better outcomes.

“People with mental health problems frequently experience dramatic benefits to their health directly due to the knowledge, skills and efforts of their pharmacist,” he said.

Although he made the link between pharmacists and mental health, Gardner said pharmacy regulators and plan sponsors aim to find ways for sponsors to work with pharmacists in a way that fairly recognizes pharmacists’ scope of practice.

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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