Pharmacy staff to get suicide awareness training for the first time
Community pharmacy staff are to be offered training on suicide prevention, based on findings from a new study published today. As a result, a first of its kind training video has been developed and will also be available from today to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.
The research from the National Institute for Health Research Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre's (NIHR GM PSTRC) mental health theme was published in the journal, PLOS ONE.
The team conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with 25 community pharmacy staff and identified 6 key themes. The first two; relationship with patient and suitable pharmacy environment formed a basis for interacting about suicide. If supported by training, staff felt that they could maximise opportunities for contact. The need to create facilitated referral pathways and understand more about restricting access to means was recognised.
Dr Hayley Gorton who led the research team whilst at The University of Manchester, said: “This is the first qualitative interview study which has explored the important role of community pharmacy teams in suicide prevention. Our research discovered that, staff felt they could do more to support individuals if they were given training.
“It is heartening to see that pharmacists and their teams recognise that they can contribute to the suicide prevention agenda and welcome training to support them to do so.”
Community pharmacists are the most visited healthcare professionals in the UK, with pharmacy teams caring for over 1.6 million people in England alone every day. Yet, these teams are seldom mentioned in the suicide prevention plans, which are a current national and global priority.
Dr Gorton has worked with the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) to make the training a reality. They have produced a suicide awareness learning video aimed at pharmacy teams.
The innovative training video aims to prompt pharmacy staff to reflect on their current role in suicide prevention, and what it might be in the future. Three special guests, who speak about their experience in relation to suicide, also provide learning messages.
Dr Gorton, added: “We hope that the CPPE suicide awareness learning video is the first step in supporting our colleagues to have potentially life-saving conversations.”
The GM PSTRC mental health theme is also launching a campaign today to mark World Suicide Prevention Day, #seedsofhope with a photographic exhibition at Manchester Town Hall. Pictures carefully selected by members of the mental health theme’s patient and carer involvement group to represent what hope means to them will be on display for the day from 10:30 until 17:30. Everyone who visits will receive a packet of seeds. Once planted pictures of the plants growth can be tweeted with using #seedsofgrowth to raise awareness of the research underway by the PSTRC to make a difference to the treatment of mental health.