Background: Pharmacists' provision of medication counseling and medication review has been shown to improve adherence and resolve drug-related problems. Lack of knowledge of mental health conditions and negative beliefs may act as a barrier to the provision of pharmacy services. It is unclear how pharmacists' knowledge and attitudes impact their provision of pharmacy services.
Objectives: To explore the relationship between pharmacists' level of mental health stigma, mental health literacy and behavioral intentions in relation to providing pharmacy services for consumers with schizophrenia.
Methods: A survey instrument containing a measure of mental health literacy, the 7-item social distance scale, and 16 items relating to the provision of pharmacy services for consumers with schizophrenia compared to cardiovascular disease, was mailed to a random sample of 1000 pharmacists registered with the Pharmacy Board of New South Wales in November 2009. Multiple linear regression models were used to assess the relationship between stigma, knowledge and behavior.
Results: Responses were received from 188 pharmacists. Pharmacists were significantly more confident and comfortable to provide services to consumers with a cardiovascular illness than a mental illness. Social distance, β = -0.11 (95% CI: -0.22, -0.01, P = 0.03), and schizophrenia literacy scores, β = 1.02, (95% CI: 0.54, 1.50, P < 0.001), were strongly associated with willingness to provide medication counseling. Schizophrenia literacy was also a predictor of identifying drug-related problems, β = 1.09 (95% CI: 0.39, 1.79, P = 0.002).
Conclusions: Low levels of mental health stigma and high levels of schizophrenia literacy were associated with pharmacists being more willing to provide medication counseling and identify drug-related problems for consumers with schizophrenia. This demonstrates the importance of improving knowledge and stigma surrounding schizophrenia to improve service delivery for consumers taking medications for schizophrenia.
Keywords: Attitude of health personnel; Mental health services; Pharmacists; Schizophrenia; Social stigma.
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