Pharmacist Support more than doubled the number of counselling sessions it provided to pharmacists in 2022, in response to an increasing number of staff in the pharmacy profession who reported struggles with their mental health.
In its ‘Impact report 2022’, published on 10 July 2023, the charity also reported a 44% increase in the number of grants it gave out to pharmacists experiencing financial hardship in 2022, providing a total of £107,901 across 114 grants.
In addition, it provided 911 funded counselling sessions — a 214% increase from 2021 — a need identified in its workforce wellbeing survey, which was carried out jointly with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), results of which were published in January 2023.
The survey results revealed that 96% of respondents working in community pharmacy felt at risk of burnout, with 37% of respondents stating that their mental health was ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.
In addition, 17% of respondents said they had taken time off work or study in the past year owing to the impact of their work on their mental health and wellbeing, while 27% had wanted to take time off but had not felt able to.
Esther Sadler-Williams, chair of trustees at Pharmacist Support, said: “Utilising the research findings from our annual joint workforce wellbeing survey with the RPS, as well as our own service user feedback, the charity has been able to ensure that we provide the support that is needed by our pharmacy family right now.
“It has been critical that we were able to respond and adapt quickly to need, which is something we are particularly proud of. In 2022, thanks to continued funding from the COVID-19 Health Support Appeal and following feedback from service users and our counselling provider, we were able to increase the number of counselling sessions individuals were able to access.”
Sign-ups to the charity’s ‘ACTNow‘ wellbeing campaign, which was established in 2020 to encourage pharmacy teams, trainees and pharmacy students to “allow time for wellbeing, consider the needs of others, and take action”, increased by 49% during 2022. The campaign’s social media engagement also increased in 2022, up 197% from 2021.
To manage the growing demand for its services, the charity said it focused its 2022 efforts on increasing income by working with key partners across the profession, resulting in a 36% increase in the value of its corporate donations that year.
Sadler-Williams added: “It is thanks to the dedication of our growing pool of amazing volunteers, and the support of our partners and donors, that all of this has been possible.”
Claire Anderson, president of the RPS, commented: “Over the years, our workforce wellbeing surveys have consistently revealed that high workloads and staff shortages clearly affect the workforce, with many saying their mental health and wellbeing has been negatively affected.
“Whilst the NHS and some employers do provide wellbeing services, there’s clearly a significant unmet need for other providers and the excellent work that Pharmacist Support does to support the profession is reflected in the rise in counselling services provided.”