This site is intended for health professionals only

Pharmacists in Great Britain accessing mental health support sees three-fold increase

A ‘significant increase’ in demand for mental health counselling support and financial assistance for pharmacists in Great Britain has been identified by the independent charity Pharmacist Support.

In its annual impact report published this week, the charity said it provided 911 funded counselling sessions to 133 people in 2022 – over three times as many (214%) as the 290 it provided in 2021. A total of 51 hours of peer support were also offered to 31 individuals through its ‘Listening Friend’ service.

The charity, which also offers financial assistance and support, awarded 44% more financial grants in 2022 than in the previous year.

Commenting on the mental health support the charity was able to provide to its ‘pharmacy family’, chair of trustees Esther Sadler-Williams said: ‘It has been critical that we were able to respond and adapt quickly to need which is something we are particularly proud of.’

This was facilitated, she said, by continued funding from the Covid-19 Health Support Appeal, feedback from service users and the counselling provider and research findings from the 2022 Workforce Wellbeing Survey.

Widespread burnout and overwork

Conducted jointly by Pharmacist Support and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the survey, published earlier this year, found high levels of burnout, overwork and poor mental health.

Some 88% of all respondents stated that they were at high risk of burnout, and 37% said their mental health was poor or very poor. Inadequate staffing (70%), a lack of work-life balance (53%) and a lack of protected learning time (48%) were identified as the top reasons for this.

In the same survey, 17% of respondents said they had taken time off work in the last year due to the impact of their work on their mental health, and 27% had wanted to but not felt able to.

In addition, 16% of respondents were concerned about addiction or addictive behaviours such as increased alcohol consumption, drug use, an unhealthy relationship with food, and gambling. None had sought support.

In December 2022, Pharmacist Support launched an addiction peer support service pilot that will run until September 2023, in addition to its addiction support helpline.

The charity offers mental health and other support to anyone who has ever registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council, as well as trainee and student pharmacists in Great Britain.

Be in the know
Subscribe to Hospital Pharmacy Europe newsletter and magazine