Establishing mental health friendly pharmacies to assist in the early identification and support of older adults at risk of mental illness


10 to 15 per cent of older adults experience depression with many hesitant to share their experiences with others, often ignoring symptoms over long periods of time and only seeking professional help when things reach a crisis point. Community pharmacists are highly accessible and ideally placed to support the early detection of mental health problems in older adults and reduce the potential impact of mental health problems.


Who should be involved?

If you are passionate about mental health, have frequent mental health conversations, and are interested in establishing your pharmacy as a mental health friendly pharmacy to support older adults who may be experiencing mental health problems, then please register your interest.


The delivery of this course is blended and participants wills receive a specialised training program that includes Mental Health First Aid for Pharmacy, depression screening in older persons, intervention and mental health service pathways. Mental Health First Aid for Pharmacy also comprises of a pre-workshop eLearning component, which takes approximately 6-8 hours to complete at your own pace.

Who can participate?

Pharmacies in NSW can register their interest to participate in the study if they are not currently participating in any other mental health related research programs (e.g. PharMIbridge RCT). Within each pharmacy, at least one pharmacist will complete the EMPATHISE Mental Health Training course. This will include Blended Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training for the Pharmacy, along with additional training on the early identification, screening and referral of older adults at risk of depression.


Why be involved?

In addition to supporting research, providing access to mental health services for older adults in your community, and shaping the future of mental health service delivery and remuneration in community pharmacy, you will receive:


Mental Health Training

Which includes Blended MHFA for the Pharmacy certification (valid for 3 years), as well as additional training on the early identification, screening and referral of older adults at risk of depression and support services in your area.


Who is undertaking this research?

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, The University of Sydney, UNSW Sydney and Monash University are undertaking this collaborative initiative to establish mental health friendly pharmacies and explore how pharmacists can assist in the early identification of mental health problems in older adults, such as depression, to facilitate timely access to appropriate mental health services. EMPATHISE is supported by the Hunter New England Central Coast (HNECC) PHN in collaboration with the Newcastle Hunter Valley Pharmacists Association (NHVPA), as well as WentWest.


Please read the Participant Information Statement for Pharmacy Owner/Manager, Pharmacist or pharmacy staff for further information regarding the EMPATHISE pilot program.


How to participate?

EMPTAHISE mental health training will involve three digital workshops via Zoom held on the following dates and time:


  • Wednesday, 31st August 2022
  • Wednesday, 7th September 2022
  • Wednesday, 14th September 2022


To register your interest, please click here. Once you submit your expression of interest, the research team will be in contact to provide you with further information. (Note: your pharmacy must be based in NSW).