Whole Health Pharmacy Partners and #SickNotWeak work together to provide better support for patients with mental health needs through pharmacies.
“Our new partnership with Michael Landsberg and #SickNotWeak is exciting, because we know there is a real need for more tools and training in pharmacies to better serve the mental health needs of our communities,” commented Dean Miller, CEO of Whole Health Pharmacy Partners, in a news release. “Between driving awareness, providing more education and resources, and connecting to the #SickNotWeak community, we believe our pharmacies will be better positioned to support mental health needs.”
The first initiative in this new partnership is #Here4MentalHealth, which is a program designed to raise awareness of mental health needs within the pharmacy, and the communities they serve. After completing extensive patient and caregiver research, a comprehensive program was developed and includes:
- Education day with specialized training from a multidisciplinary team deepening capabilities of pharmacy staff to support patients in their respective communities.
- Handouts developed through conversations with patients and caregivers, so the contents are inspired and guided by people who truly understand the experience.
- In-store peer-to-peer support through interactive weekly challenges encouraging people to share their tips and perspectives related to the management of their mental health needs.
- Mental Health Mondays, wherein pharmacy staff will be wearing #SickNotWeak attire to build awareness for mental health.
- Social media campaign highlighting the findings from the patient and caregiver research, and engaging online communities about mental health.
- Downloadable support tools for all pharmacists interested in delivering better care for these patients.
The #Here4MentalHealth supports Canada’s mental health strategy Changing Directions, Changing Lives, by supporting the recommendation to “Provide access to the right combination of services, treatments and supports, when and where people need them.”
Michael Landsberg, the founder of #SickNotWeak, added, “We patients know so much about being on the receiving end of health care. Whole Health Pharmacy Partners came to us and asked how they can do a better job on the giving end. This is rare and amazing. These conversations helped build tools that will make a significant difference in the lives of people who can really use the support.”
“Given that most people see their pharmacist more regularly than they see their physician, we think this initiative will make the burden that so many patients feel they carry around, a little bit lighter. And sometimes that little bit of help can make all the difference,” says Michael Landsberg.
With one in five Canadians being affected by mental health problems or illness, there is a real need to deliver better care at pharmacy. Especially since patients often overlook the pharmacy as a source of support and help for mental health needs.
Dean Miller added, “We want patients and caregivers to know that the pharmacy is a safe and accessible place to get additional help and support. The uniqueness of the contents for this initiative is that it was effectively developed by patients, for patients, which is not as common as you’d expect. After #Here4MentalHealth launches, we will continue to work with the #SickNotWeak organization to develop more programs which can connect with patients through a deeper understanding of their needs, and what works for them.”