Objective: Pharmacists may be well placed to take up a role in depression care, complementing the role of general practitioners. However, depression care is a relatively new role for pharmacists, and little is known of their attitudes, current practices, and barriers toward it.
Methods: A random sample of 200 community pharmacists in Belgium was surveyed about the care of patients with depression in comparison with patients with other, physical conditions.
Results: The 69 pharmacists who responded to the survey generally endorsed a very positive attitude toward their potential role in depression care. This willingness was, however, not reflected in current practice, and fulfilling this role appeared to be more difficult with patients with depression in comparison with patients with other, physical conditions. A lack of training in mental health issues was the most important barrier reported. Cooperation with general practitioners in depression care was desired, but the current level of cooperation was rather low.
Conclusions: For pharmacists to effectively take up depression care, perceived barriers need to be addressed through specific training programs and increased cooperation with general practitioners.