Pharmacists are on the mental health frontline with new figures revealing there were 29 million prescriptions written for medications relating to mental health issues last year.
An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report shows anti-depressant medications made up almost 60 per cent of scripts, followed by anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic drugs.
With an estimated 2.4 million Australians using medication to control mental health problems, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia states the figures are a stark reminder of the key role that pharmacists play in tackling mental health.
PSA president Grant Kardachi said pharmacists often saw patients more often than other health professionals, helping them seek further medical help and counselling, through their ‘walk in’ service.
“Pharmacists deal with patients suffering from mental health conditions 356 days a year. It is a constant part of the service they provide,” he said.
“At the moment, with the myriad new facilities and strategies being put in place, there is the potential for confusion as to where sufferers should be directed for further assistance, and what services and support are available and where.”
Mr Kardachi said the organisation provided a practice support program to assist pharmacists with the 5CPA programs, including the Primary Health Care and Working with Others initiatives, as well as a snapshot document helping pharmacists make the most of the 5CPA programs.
He said the PSA also offered a mental health first aid course to up-skill pharmacists to recognise symptoms and help sufferers.