ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 13, 2012 -- Approximately 75 percent of individuals living with mental illness and their caregivers seldom or never receive safety or effectiveness monitoring assistance from community pharmacists according to a survey conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in conjunction with the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists Foundation (CPNPF).
The greatest obstacle cited by 58 percent of survey respondents is the lack of private space in retail pharmacies to discuss medication issues, including side effects and drug interactions. Although 91 percent are very comfortable going to community pharmacies and 83 percent feel respected by their pharmacist, 43 percent nonetheless feel that they do not have a strong professional relationship with their pharmacist.
The result is that people come to view pharmacists as disinterested in their actual care—although the perception is not so much the fault of pharmacists as their not having sufficient time for questions or discussion. "Individuals primarily receive their medication at the cash register with little or no interaction with their pharmacist," the report notes.
The survey report is titled "Characterizing the Relationship Between Individuals with Mental Conditions and Community Pharmacists" and is available at http://cpnpfoundation.org/pharmacists and www.nami.org/pharmacists.
"The survey suggests areas for action to strengthen to role of community pharmacists as part of treatment teams for mental health problems as well as other medical conditions," said NAMI Executive Director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "Pharmacists can serve as a first line of defense in identifying medication issues to be discussed with a person's doctor—before any concern turns into an adverse event."
"This groundbreaking survey reports the observations of those receiving services related to their mental health medications from community pharmacists. The findings identify important opportunities to expand the commitment of the pharmacy community to greater numbers of individuals living with mental illness," said CPNPF President Charles F. Caley.
NAMI conducted the survey in conjunction with the CPNPF. There are approximately 2,000 "psychiatric pharmacists" in the United States who specialize in mental health medications, but there are not enough to directly support the number of individuals being treated with mental medications. Nationally, over 118,000 pharmacists work in community settings representing 43 percent of the profession overall, playing an important role in mental health care.
NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope.
CPNPF’s mission is to promote state-of-the art and essential treatments for people affected by psychiatric and neurologic illness. To accomplish this, the CPNPF is involved in activities that advocate for all patients with these illnesses to have access to a pharmacist with the knowledge and skills to improve their care. CPNF is also dedicated: providing resources for research, dissemination of data, training and education.