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Pharmacists can aid quicker mental health recovery

Deprescribing, within a pharmacist's domain | Picture of female asian pharmacist cutting down the amount of capsules in a prescription - The Canadian Foundation For Pharmacy

Pharmacists can aid quicker mental health recovery

JUNE 2021 – For patients with mental illness, pharmacists can play a more important and potentially life-changing role. The Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy is currently funding two research projects to help show the value of an expanded role for pharmacists in the care of patients newly diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety.

“I see a whole area where pharmacists can help patients right out of the gate … providing care and treatment in collaboration with family physicians,” says one of the researchers, Dan Burton, principal investigator for the Mental Health Assessment and Prescribing by Alberta Pharmacists (MAP-AP) study.

For the MAP-AP study, up to 10 pharmacies in Calgary and surrounding areas and about 120 patients with major depressive and/or general anxiety disorder will participate over a six-month period. Pharmacists will receive training via teleconference and videos that review the two disorders. Everything from the pathophysiology, goals of therapy, treatment, monitoring and follow-up will be covered. “We will also be touching on handling a patient who presents with suicidal ideation, and we will have experts available for consultation and questions if needed to ensure pharmacists feel comfortable working with patients and can provide the necessary level of care,” says Burton.

The second research project—the Self-rating App for Depression Aided by Proactive Pharmacists (SADAPP)— adds a digital health tool to the follow-up process. Created by University of Montreal researcher Philippe Vincent and his team, the app is built around the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 questionnaires and participating pharmacists can access results using a secure, online dashboard.

Get the full story in CFP’s Changing Face of Pharmacy Spring 2021 Report. Email Dayle Acorn ( to get your copy.

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