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Mental health care framework

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PSA has developed a Framework for pharmacists as partners in mental health care in partnership with mental health consumers, carers and care coordinators, mental health policy and practice experts, pharmacists, general practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health nurses.

Opportunities arising from the Australian Government’s mental health reform agenda provided the impetus to this work to develop a framework for pharmacists in collaboration with a multidisciplinary stakeholder group.  A list of individuals and organisations who assisted with this work is provided in the full framework document (link below).

Why a framework for pharmacists?

  • While pharmacists recognise that medicines are not necessarily the primary or sole treatment option for mental illnesses, the 31.1 million mental health‑related prescriptions in Australia in 2010‑11, comprising 11% of all medicines subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, reflect that they are a significant modality of treatment.  Of these, 86% of medicines were prescribed by general practitioners rather than psychiatrists.  These figures emphasise the need and opportunity for pharmacist involvement in mental health care.
  • Pharmacists have a strong primary health care role and, due to their accessibility, are often the first health professional contacted by a consumer with a health concern.  Pharmacists are frequently consulted for advice on psychotropic medications and their accessibility and frequent contact with mental health consumers and carers means they are ideally placed to play a greater role in the management of mental illness or conditions.
  • Psychotropic medicines are frequently implicated as a cause of adverse drug events or drug-related problems and there is evidence of the benefits of pharmacists performing medication reviews within community mental health teams.
  • Pharmacists’ skills and experience within their scope of safe and appropriate use of medicines can be applied to improve quality use of medicines for consumers with a mental illness.

About the framework

The framework:

  • articulates the expertise of pharmacists and the roles they do and can fulfil as partners in mental health care; and
  • is intended to be used as the basis for exploring future pharmacist roles as partners in mental health care to enhance mental health care service delivery to Australian consumers and carers.

The framework explains how the role of pharmacists can be categorised into:

  • indirect services, including education, academic detailing and policy development; and
  • direct services, such as medication adherence support, crisis intervention or medication review, which are aligned broadly with four main aims for mental health care service delivery:
  • health promotion;
  • supporting early detection and intervention;
  • minimising illness; and
  • maximising recovery.

This framework will be used to engage with a variety of audiences including consumers, carers, mental health care organisations and health care practitioners to promote the role of the pharmacist as a partner in the delivery of mental health care.

A framework for pharmacists as partners in mental health care (2.7 MiB)

Executive summary - mental health framework (494.0 KiB)

Pharmacist roles as partners in mental health care (Figure 1 of framework document) (53.4 KiB)

Main barriers and enablers to pharmacists becoming partners in mental health care (Figure 2 of framework document) (48.0 KiB)

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