Mental health concerns have been pushed to the forefront as the COVID-19 pandemic continues into 2021. As trusted local healthcare providers, pharmacists serve an important role in maintaining and improving the mental health of their communities. Patients see their pharmacists more times a year on average than their primary care providers, offering monthly opportunities for pharmacists to check-in with their patients.
It is also important for pharmacists to monitor their own mental health and support their pharmacy staff during this time. Keep reading to learn more about how community pharmacies can impact mental health in 2021.
Care for Your Patients’ Mental Health
Your patients are undoubtedly among your top priorities, and their health extends far beyond their physical bodies. In the U.S., 40% of adults reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression during the pandemic. In 2021, higher levels of stress were reported among adults than in 2020, including feelings of anxiety, sadness, and anger.
Pharmacists have many opportunities for patient touchpoints, conducting medication consultations and clinical services. It is more important than ever to be mindful of the signs and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. If your patients express concerns over their mental health, you can encourage them to seek help through the proper medical channels.
Regularly talking with your patients, listening to their concerns, and offering a sympathetic ear can also go a long way. In 2021, 1 in 3 adults feel stressed because of COVID-19. Talking to patients with anxiety or depression can help calm some of their worries and provide a trusted healthcare resource they can turn to for accurate answers.
Support Your Staff’s Mental Health
Community pharmacies across the country made significant changes to their staffing, hours of operation, and workflow to accommodate COVID-19 safety guidelines. As pharmacies kept their doors open to serve their community, pharmacists and pharmacy staff put their own health at risk. Many essential employees are worried about their health and safety as well as the health of their families, and working in-person during COVID-19 can cause a great deal of stress.
In addition to offering your patients tips to manage stress, relay the same advice to your pharmacy staff. Encourage your staff to practice gratitude, take time for self-care, and stay connected with loved ones as much as possible. It is also beneficial to ask for feedback or employee input when making big changes in your pharmacy. Listening to the opinions of your staff can make them feel valued, heard, and safer at work.
Focus on Your Own Mental Health
While you are focusing on everyone else’s mental health, do not neglect your own. For many independent pharmacists, work/life balance can be challenging. As the pandemic continues, pharmacists are dedicating more time than ever before to caring for their patients and adapting to the changes brought by COVID-19. The longer you ignore your own mental health, the more likely you are to experience burnout.
Take the mental health tips and advice you give to patients and staff to heart. Check in with yourself on a regular basis to assess the state of your mental health and make any necessary adjustments. You can set a great example for your patients and staff by prioritizing mental health. And, when you are at your best, you can better care for others.
Transaction Data Systems is here to support the health and safety of our pharmacy clients, including their patients and staff. We greatly appreciate all of the community pharmacists and pharmacy staff serving their communities during this time. Learn more about how TDS can support your business with our Rx30 and Computer-Rx pharmacy management solutions at https://www.tdsclinical.com/.