Mental Health – awareness counts, action matters.

by Sarah Steel MRPharmS, RPS Wales Policy and Practice Co-ordinator

Sarah Steel MRPharmS, Policy and Practice Coordinator

Over recent years, mental health has become something of a global conversation, a buzzword, a hashtag. Remove the stigma. Break the silence. Be open, talk, share.

Awareness is fantastic, conversation is progressive but how we act is what matters. An episode of mental illness is frightening, frustrating and isolating. As a pharmacist and a patient I have seen mental ill health from both sides and both are scary. People involved on both sides are often scared about the same things. What is ok to say? How do I act? How do I not make this worse? Awkwardness can be destructive.

Admitted to hospital, as a patient in crisis it was exhausting being asked again and again by different people what medication I was taking. No, I didn’t bring with me the third lot of meds that my doctor has prescribed that right now aren’t helping me feel better. I desperately wanted to get better, but I especially wanted and needed to be treated as a person, recognised as a person at a time when I felt so much less than that.

Read more Mental Health – awareness counts, action matters.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2012

By Dave Branford, Chief Mental Health Pharmacist

Mental Awareness Health Week starts today (21-28 May). The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week (run by the Mental Health Foundation) is altruism – Doing Good Does You Good. The week will focus on how by helping others you can help yourself, including random acts of kindness, volunteering and peer support

So how altruistic am I? Do I go that extra mile for people with mental health problems? I probably do because it is part of being a pharmacist; part of being a healthcare professional.  Somehow it is different when it is a patient. I am quite happy to close the door and turn off the computer when it is just dealing with never ending paperwork but when it is a person – that’s different. Altruism –going the extra mile is in the blood of pharmacy.

But what about mental health? It’s easy for me, you might say, because it’s my job. On a day to day basis I am interacting with some of the most mentally unwell people you can imagine.  Medicines play a huge part in both making and keeping them well.  Most of my career has been in mental health. What about the rest of the profession! Read more Mental Health Awareness Week 2012