Managing mental illness and promoting and sustaining recovery

Project Details
Project ID: 2007/08-07
Type: Commissioned
Status: Completed
Institution: Healthcare Management Advisors
Chief Investigator: Mr Wayne Kinrade

Project Summary

The literature has noted the need for more studies to assess the role that pharmacies can undertake in supporting people with a mental illness in the community. This project used an action research methodology to ‘scope out’ what could be possible. The project piloted three interventions in five geographic areas based around Divisions of General Practice. Twenty five community pharmacies from within these Divisions were recruited to undertake the pilot. The three interventions addressed: awareness training for pharmacy staff; additional support to consumers who received medication used for treating a mental illness for the first time; and additional support for consumers connected to a public mental health service.

The pilot found evidence that participating pharmacists benefited from a brief refresher presentation on mental health issues. However, this did not address changes to their underlying behaviour and approaches to people with a mental illness or increase skills in managing this client group.

The pilot established that processes could be introduced to support people with mild to moderate mental illness in the community with enhanced medication adherence, with additional support from extra counselling and follow-up telephone calls. There was strong qualitative evidence from the pilot that this additional support benefited consumers around their medication adherence and in the conduct of other parts of their lives. Further evidence is required to ascertain whether these impacts are measurable quantitatively.

The pilot found that further change management work is required within public mental health services to increase the continuity of care around medication adherence for consumers associated with these services.