Comparison of pharmacists' mental health literacy: Developed versus developing countries

J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2020 Sep-Oct;60(5S):S64-S72. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2020.05.003. Epub 2020 Jun 21.


Objective: To compare the mental health literacy (MHL) of pharmacists in Nigeria and their comfort rendering pharmacy services to patients with mental illness with that of pharmacists in developed countries.

Design: A cross-sectional study design was employed. Questionnaires containing closed, ordinal, Likert-type, and multi-choice questions were used to elicit information from the respondents.

Setting and participants: Pharmacists from all areas of practice attending the 91st Annual Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria from October 29 to November 3, 2018, were conveniently sampled.

Outcome measures: Pharmacists' MHL, stigma, desired social distance, and comfort rendering pharmacy services were compared with relevant literature from developed countries.

Results: Of the approximately 360 pharmacists who received the survey, 117 responded (32.5%). Although less than half (45.3%, n = 48) of the pharmacists reported that antidepressants were beneficial in treating depressive symptoms, almost all of them (96.2%, n = 102) rated antipsychotics to be helpful for schizophrenia. The desired social distance was higher in schizophrenia than in depression (P = 0.001). More than half (57.1%, n = 61) of the pharmacists surveyed believed that violence was more likely among persons with a mental illness. The respondents reported a higher level of comfort giving medication advice to patients with cardiovascular disease than to those with mental illness (P < 0.001). Approximately one-third (34.0%, n = 36) of the pharmacists agreed that they had sufficient training in the identification and management of mental illness. Literature from developed countries showed high levels of MHL among pharmacists in terms of knowledge but relatively high levels of stigma, desired social distance, and discomfort rendering pharmaceutical care to patients with mental illness.

Conclusion: The findings indicate some knowledge gaps and misconceptions among Nigerian pharmacists regarding mental illness. The stigma and desired social distance among pharmacists in this study were comparable to findings from developed countries.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Developing Countries
  • Health Literacy*
  • Humans
  • Pharmacists*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires