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Rural Community Pharmacists' Perceptions of Implementing Mental Health Interventions to Reach Underserved Populations.

Landes SJ, Smith MG, Lam JC, Watt TC, Curran GM. Rural Community Pharmacists' Perceptions of Implementing Mental Health Interventions to Reach Underserved Populations. Rural mental health. 2023 Apr 1; 47(2):90-99.

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Mental illness and suicide are significant public health problems. Limited resources put individuals at greater risk, particularly in rural areas with fewer health providers. Community pharmacists are the most accessible health professionals in rural communities and are interested in addressing mental health concerns. Research is limited on how to implement mental health interventions in community pharmacy settings. The objectives of this study were to assess community pharmacists' perceptions of mental health interventions and barriers and facilitators to implementation and prioritize interventions to be pilot tested. Qualitative interviews were conducted with community pharmacists (N = 17). Interviews focused on perceptions of mental health interventions in pharmacy settings. Data were analyzed using template analysis. A stakeholder meeting reviewed data and prioritized interventions to be pilot tested. Pharmacists viewed implementing mental health interventions positively. Barriers included lack of mental health knowledge, time, diagnosis, and concerns about workflow. Facilitators included accessible settings, knowing the community, and seeing patients frequently. The most common needs for implementation were education and payment. Pharmacists preferred progress monitoring in collaboration with a prescriber and mental health first aid training. Further research is needed to gather feedback from prescribers to inform implementation.

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