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Mental health first aid forms part of pharmacy toolkit

Model of a skull

Community pharmacy staff from across Carmarthenshire Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire have taken part in ‘mental health first aid’ training to support their patients and own mental health, as well as that of their colleagues.

Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and dispensers from across 35 pharmacies attended online training to equip them with the tools to support their own mental health and that of their colleagues, and encourage them to access timely support when needed. 

In addition, the training provides the participants with the knowledge to identify suspected mental health conditions in patients, and the skills to start a conversation surrounding mental health. 

Mike Ring, Founder of Mental Health Connected said: “It was a pleasure to collaborate with community pharmacists and technicians of Hywel Dda University Health Board.

“I was impressed by their eagerness and enthusiasm to learn about mental health first aid and how they can implement it into their day-to-day dealings with patients.

“As frontline healthcare professionals, the breadth of services and support offered by them is at times not acknowledged, as they are the first port of call to many patients.”

Feedback from participants on the training included:

“Putting the issue of mental health into context and making us appreciate that we can make a difference without being an expert by just listening and signposting.

“I found the course really helpful and made me feel much more confident in how to have conversations with patients and staff going forward about mental health and practical advice to give them to help them now instead of just referring onwards.”

Hywel Dda University Health Board aims to offer additional training this year to all pharmacies to ensure that each pharmacy has a mental health champion.