Today, mental health challenges are on the rise due to the fast-paced lifestyle, stress, and anxiety surrounding us. It has become bothersome for communities and patients around the globe. To address these challenges, there is a need for expert clinicians with varied expertise and skills to develop patient trust, offer assistance, and provide valuable advice.
Maintaining stable mental health requires nutraceutical, lifestyle, or pharmaceutical interventions. Typically, a group of clinicians can establish a sustainable balance through ongoing trust, support, and helpful advice. This holistic approach helps address an individual’s diverse needs, fosters essential self-care skills, and ensures increasing success rates in achieving mental well-being.
When it comes to these caregivers, pharmacists play an essential role in helping patients recover from mental health issues. In this article, we will discuss how pharmacists assist people with mental health challenges in addressing their issues and adding to their well-being.
Understanding the Relevance of a Pharmacist in Mental Health Care
Today, close to 1 out of every 5 adults in the United States has a mental problem, and most of them are treated using medication regimens that benefit from the guidance of a pharmacist. Charles F. Caley, a professor of pharmacy practice, shared that there are more than 1300 board-certified psychiatric pharmacists in the United States, and the count is estimated to increase.
As trusted and valued members of the community, pharmacists play a pivotal role in primary healthcare. They interact daily with individuals diagnosed with mental illnesses experiencing mild to extreme symptoms.
Typically, many pharmacy schools offer a PharmD online degree that covers various aspects, including the clinical management of diagnosed conditions. However, it is also crucial for practicing pharmacists to be aware of how to provide brief supportive interventions, conduct screenings, and make referrals for managing mental health symptoms.
The University of Findlay states that renowned institutions offering online and distance PharmD degrees can help candidates acquire these skills. It also allows candidates to enhance their marketability by obtaining a second degree in addition to a Doctor of Pharmacy. The curriculum is designed to nurture the potential of every candidate through transformative experiences and academic excellence.
How Does a Pharmacist Help Patients with Mental Health Challenges?
It is necessary to know how pharmacists can impact patient outcomes associated with mental health. Some of the crucial ways in which they can help include:
Pharmacists can identify the symptoms of mental health problems depending on minute observations, like mood changes. Simply by taking note of these signs, they can triage the patients to the correct healthcare providers. They can also provide correct resources, like a list that has details of mental health services in the patient’s locality.
A study that assessed the results of pharmacists screening for depression by utilizing the PHQ (Patient Health Questionnaire) revealed interesting details. Here, the pharmacists could recognize and refer the patients who were undiagnosed with depression or optimize the therapy.
Once the pharmacist depression-screening program was implemented, it led to 60% of patients receiving treatment at the correct time, which eventually led to a better recovery.
Adhering to Medication
Taking medicine, as mentioned in the treatment plan, is useful for successfully treating a mental health problem. Pharmacists act as medical experts and contribute to maximizing medical adherence by providing the required education and consultation. A study has shown that close to 49% of patients with psychiatric disorders don’t take the psychotropic medications prescribed to them.
Patients want to receive crucial information about the medication’s benefits and its side effects. They want to understand whether they can expect therapeutic efficacy after taking a medicine at the correct time. They get to realize the importance of medication adherence for improving their mental health.
By demonstrating medication adherence, leading pharmacists achieve improved treatment results and reduce drug bias. It also fosters a positive attitude toward medication consumption. Furthermore, therapy management and follow-ups by pharmacists also contribute to increased medical adherence.
There have been many situations where pharmacists curbed mental healthcare costs. Reducing medication mistakes and optimizing drug therapy have brought down hospital readmission rates. As a result, it results in massive cost savings.
A study revealed that clinical pharmacist intervention in a psychiatric hospital resulted in medication cost savings of nearly $6,760. It also generated a cost savings of $62,806. All these interventions resulted in dose optimization, choosing the drug, and managing the drug levels.
It is evident that pharmacists play a crucial role in fostering better mental health conditions among people. Other than suggesting people with the required medicines to treat their mental health ailments, they also provide the correct resources and vital support to people who require help to cope with depression or anxiety.
They have ample expertise in counseling and medication management that ensures the complete well-being of patients. Furthermore, pharmacists, with their years of experience, can reduce polypharmacy and therapy duplication. It leads to increased medical adherence, better patient outcomes, and cost savings.