A Consumer-Led Intervention to Improve Pharmacists’ Attitudes Toward Mental Illness: A Pilot Study

Abstract

Background: Individuals with a severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI) often manage complex medication regimens and would benefit from pharmacy services. æPharmacists with stigma toward individuals with SPMI may be less likely to provide services. æA consumer-led intervention significantly reduced negative attitudes of pharmacy students toward individuals with SPMI. æThere is no data on the effects of such an intervention on pharmacists. æObjective: Determine the effects of a consumer-led Continuing Education Program (CEP) on pharmacistsÍ attitudes and willingness to provide services to consumers with SPMI. æMethods: Fifty pharmacists were recruited through the CEP provider at Northeastern University. æThe CEP included an overview of mental healthcare and a presentation by consumers with a mental illness. æPharmacists completed one survey before, one immediately after, and one two months after the CEP. æThe surveys ask about pharmacistsÍ attitudes toward SPMI and willingness to provide services. æQualitative data will be captured from phone interviews. æResults: Data collection and analysis is in progress. æPaired t-tests comparing pre-intervention to post-intervention responses showed a decrease in total social distance (p=0.003) and an increase in willingness to provide services to patients with schizophrenia (p=0.000). æBivariate and multivariate statistics will be used to analyze factors affecting willingness to provide services. æKey themes will be identified from phone interviews. æConclusions: The preliminary results of this study show a significant short-term improvement in social distance and willingness to provide services to patients with SPMI. æThe sustainability of these effects will be evaluated with the third survey data.