New Website Connects Mental Health Patients and Pharmacists

A pharmacist sits with a patient in the consultation area and discusses her prescription. (iStock Photo)
A pharmacist sits with a patient in the consultation area and discusses her prescription. (iStock Photo)

Identifying pharmacies that provide mental health services is important for patient treatment and now there is a way to do that online.

The College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) Foundation recently launched a website with a searchable directory of more than 850 mental health pharmacies.

“Individuals with mental health conditions should expect to engage a community pharmacist when needed in order to best understand their medications and how to get the greatest benefit from them,” says UConn School of Pharmacy Clinical Professor Charles Caley, who led the project as the CPNP Foundation’s president.

Consumers can search the Mental Health Pharmacy Directory to find a participating pharmacy in their area and see a list of services that the pharmacy provides.

The CPNP Foundation defines a mental health pharmacy as one that meets a number of criteria, including providing on-site assistance and education about psychiatric medications; communicating with mental health care providers to resolve medication-related problems; dispensing special mental health medications such as clozapine or long-acting injectable antipsychotics; and motivating adherence by providing patients with individualized medication reminder packages, devices, or delivery schedules.

An estimated 1 in 5 adults in the United States will experience mental illness during the course of a year, according to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.  Nearly half of all adults in the U.S. will develop at least one mental illness during their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The mental health pharmacy website was developed in response to a national survey of individuals with mental illness who were asked about their experiences with pharmacists.

Approximately 75 percent of those surveyed reported that they seldom or never received assistance from their pharmacist in monitoring the effectiveness or safety of their medication.

The greatest concern raised by 58 percent of the respondents was the lack of private space in the pharmacy for an individual to discuss a medication issue with the pharmacist.

“The realities of high prescription volumes and busy, non-private environments makes it difficult for many individuals to access the knowledge, skill and support of pharmacists,” says Caley. “Active support can lead to better treatment outcomes.”

The CPNP Foundation focuses on the needs of individuals living with psychiatric and neurologic disorders, their families, and health professionals in general practice to further evidence-based treatment.