Australian mental health consumers and carers expect more health management information from community pharmacy.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To identify the health management information needs of Australian mental health consumers and carers and explore the role of community pharmacy in meeting those needs.

METHOD

Interviews and focus groups were conducted with a purposive convenience sample of 74 mental health consumers and carers across three Australian states, representing metropolitan, rural and remote settings, including those with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Recruitment and interviews continued until data saturation was reached. Interviews and group discussions were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim, and data were managed using NVivo® software. A 'coding framework' or set of themes was created, and all transcripts were coded accordingly. Thematic analysis was informed by a general inductive approach.

RESULTS

Participants had unmet needs for information from community pharmacy. They expressed the requirement for receiving easy-to-understand, relevant medication information about mental health management from community pharmacy staff, communicated in a respectful way, with clear and comprehensive medication labelling, while respecting consumer privacy.

CONCLUSION

The information needs of mental health consumers and carers remain largely unmet within Australian community pharmacy. This was particularly evident regarding the provision of information about adverse effects of medicines. The overall perceived lack of information is experienced as disempowering.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS

Australian community pharmacy is well placed to respond to the unmet demand for information needs of mental health consumers and carers. While many community pharmacies are embracing the principles of patient-centred care, there is an opportunity to optimise the quality of care provided to mental health consumers and carers.

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