Patient care goes beyond the physical. It’s more than putting pills in a bottle. In certain situations, it goes beyond medications in general.
Likewise, your and your patient’s health exceeds what X-rays or physical reports show. Some of the most critical aspects of health can’t be quantified or seen. Some of it is entirely intangible but ever so important.
That’s what National Mental Health Awareness Month is all about. This month-long holiday encourages you to take stock of what and who affects your mental health.
Just like you need a consistent diet and exercise routine to stay physically healthy, you need a quality regiment of healthy habits to maintain your mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health.
And National Mental Health Awareness Month is dedicated to that very idea. Here’s how you and your patients can celebrate National Mental Health Awareness Month.
Over recent years, the healthcare industry has put greater focus on mental health initiatives, and for good reason.
Modern research has shown how a person’s well-being is as important as their physical condition. A person’s physical and mental health almost always goes hand in hand.
Depression increases the risk of several long-lasting conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Likewise, chronic conditions such as chronic pain can increase the risk of mental illness, according to the CDC.
More than 50 million Americans struggle with mental illness, according to DoSomething.Org, a nonprofit dedicated to raising mental health awareness. That means almost ⅙ of the entire country struggles with mental illness.
Mental, neurological, and substance use disorders account for 10% of the global burden of disease.
The global economy loses about $1 trillion annually in productivity due to depression and anxiety, according to the World Health Organization.
Due to the economic disparity, lower-income countries have far fewer resources to help treat mental illness. There is fewer than one mental health staff per 100,000 people, compared to 60 in high-income countries, also according to the WHO.
It is also essential to recognize the line between poor mental health and mental illness. Mental illness refers to “conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, or behavior,” which can include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Anyone can experience poor mental health without necessarily suffering from mental illness. The divide might not look clear but it’s nevertheless important to recognize the distinction between poor mental health and mental illness.
Mental Health Awareness Month is the perfect time to inform yourself and others about the intricacies of mental health.
Health literacy is vital for your patient’s health journey. It also helps you and your independent pharmacy staff to create a more empathetic and kinder workplace.
Then there’s the unfortunate stigma surrounding mental health and mental illness. It’s that stigma that discourages people from seeking the help they need.
As an independent pharmacist, you can get rid of that stigma by showing empathy and
compassion to your patients.
Barry Klein of Klein’s Pharmacy joined the Catalyst Pharmacy Podcast to discuss the stigma of mental illness and what his pharmacy is doing to eliminate it.
We’ve said before and we’ll say it again: the patient-pharmacist relationship is sacred. Not only do we mean that literally (you’re HIPAA-bound) but you play a crucial role in their day-to-day lives.
Patients pick your independent pharmacy for a reason. Believe it or not, it’s not all the vaccines and clinical services you provide, though they certainly help. It’s your dedication and commitment to excellent patient care.
Quality patient care culminates with how you talk to your patients. Patient consultations are an opportunity to educate your patients. It’s also the most effective way to learn about them.
Take the time to answer your patient’s questions, especially if they are taking SSRIs.
As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, a more informed patient naturally becomes a healthier one. That applies to physical health and especially mental health.
Take a few extra moments to talk to your patients. Those extra seconds or minutes add up after a while, resulting in a dense and loyal patient base.
As we mentioned earlier, patient care goes beyond prescriptions. It can also go beyond your independent pharmacy itself. Use your independent pharmacy’s social media presence to further observe Mental Health Awareness Month.
Fill your social media feed with helpful facts about mental health and its importance. You can also record a video of you or another staff pharmacist talking about Mental Health Awareness Month and your commitment to patient care.
Remember that social media is a delicate tightrope act. Online trends come and go like an ocean tide, so keep your ear to the ground before you hit “send.”
Discover RxLocal’s Social Media Assistant and find out how you can watch your numbers grow and your pharmacy succeed.
For a good starting point, check out our “The 5 Facebook Best Practices for Your Pharmacy” blog.
When we say patient care goes beyond the pharmacy, we mean it. You can’t have a patient if you don’t have a doctor. There lies a profound benefit of running an independent pharmacy.
You’re a one-of-a-kind healthcare destination, a tailored product of the location and the community that surrounds it. Reach out to primary care physicians and psychiatrists about the importance of Mental Health Awareness Month.
They offer a valuable perspective on patient care and mental health.
They directly interact with patients who struggle with their mental health. As such, they’ve come up with ways to help their patients feel comfortable and safe during times of distress.
Reaching out to these medical professionals also expands your network and reputation in the community. There are few things more valuable for an independent pharmacy than a doctor’s endorsement.
If a doctor sends their patient to your independent pharmacy, you can both provide exceptional and comprehensive patient care. As an independent pharmacist, what better way to observe Mental Health Awareness Month than doing what you do best?
The term “patient care” is a broad one. But it’s nothing that independent pharmacists like yourself can’t handle. Rise to the occasion this Mental Health Awareness Month by being a little more attentive and informed about the importance of mental health.
It could mean brushing up on facts about mental health, going deeper with your patient consultations, or reaching out to community doctors and psychiatrists. National Mental Health Awareness Month is all about raising awareness.
Let yourself and others around you know that keeping your mental health in check is as vital as keeping a steady diet or workout routine.
Just like a long run, National Mental Health Awareness Month helps you and others become smarter, healthier, and kinder versions of yourself.