Empowering pharmacists to better support consumers with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI)
Severe and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI) refers to any mental illness that has a continuous and significant effect on a person’s daily life, such as schizophrenia, severe and recurrent depression, and bipolar disorder. In Australia, there are an estimated 9,000 premature deaths annually amongst consumers living with SPMI. However, this mortality rate is generally due to health conditions experienced by the general population, such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Urgent attention is therefore required to address associated physical health concerns of this vulnerable population.
Medications are a common treatment option for managing mental and physical illnesses, which are mostly obtained from community pharmacies. Pharmacists, as accessible health professionals, are well positioned to improve mental health and associated physical healthcare, resolve any associated medication-related problems, including medication adherence, and signpost consumers to other health professionals and services.
The Bridging the Gap between Physical and Mental Illness in Community Pharmacy (PharMIbridge) Randomised Control Trial (RCT) is a collaboration between Griffith University, The University of Sydney, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia aimed at enhancing the way community pharmacists support people living with SPMI.
The PharMIbridge RCT will test the effectiveness of a person-centred, goal-oriented and flexible pharmacist-led support service for consumers living with SPMI, compared to a standard in-pharmacy medication review service. Changes in consumer medication adherence and health outcomes (including quality of life, physical health and mental wellbeing), as well as the confidence and knowledge of community pharmacists’ to support this population, will be assessed. Additionally, the acceptability and cost-effectiveness of the new service will be evaluated.