Campaign encourages those affected by depression to Lean on their Pharmacist
Four in ten people in Ireland have admitted that they would not want to know if a friend or loved one was suffering from depression, according to research undertaken for the launch of Lean on Me Pharmacy, an extension of the successful Lean on Me depression awareness campaign. The statistic shows that a significant proportion of people still have difficulty discussing the topic of depression openly.
The research also showed that 39% of people, however, are comfortable talking to their pharmacist about depression, with 49% of respondents agreeing pharmacists can provide useful information on mental health.
Supported by Lundbeck and the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), the Lean on Me Pharmacy campaign aims to encourage the one in ten people in Ireland affected by depression1 to consider their community pharmacist as a source of advice and support.
Actress Mary McEvoy, who lives with depression and manages it on an ongoing basis, is supporting Lean on Me Pharmacy. She said at the launch, “I have lived with depression for over 15 years and it is the community support network that I have around me that helps me now to manage my condition and lead an engaging life.”
“I need different levels of support at different times and my pharmacist and GP play an important support role, in addition to my friends and family. I am on medication to manage my depression and I have a great relationship with my local pharmacist who is available at all times to answer any questions, queries or concerns I may have about the condition or my treatment.”
While people say they are very comfortable talking to pharmacists about physical conditions like colds (73%), headaches (73%) and minor injuries (71%), they do not necessarily immediately associate pharmacists as source of support for depression. The launch of Lean on Me Pharmacy is the first step in strengthening this association and making the Irish public aware of the availability and accessibility of pharmacists as a support when living with depression.
President of the IPU, Rory O’Donnell said, “Community pharmacists are healthcare professionals who are just as qualified to support people living with depression as they are to advise on other chronic physical ailments like diabetes and high blood pressure. While research shows a significant number of people do feel they can approach their pharmacist about depression, we want to reach out to everyone who may have depression, which is why the IPU has joined the Lean on Me campaign.”
“Because depression is not diagnosed with a blood test or other diagnostic tool people find it more difficult to understand and, therefore, a difficult subject to broach. Lean on Me Pharmacy is about encouraging people to talk about depression and to understand that support is available.”
“Non-compliance with antidepressant medication is an issue and it’s very heartening to note from the research that the majority (65%) of people would accept advice from a pharmacist if advised to continue on antidepressants. Community pharmacists are available to talk to people with depression about their treatment and to advise on how their condition can be managed as part of their overall recovery.”
Eithne Boyan, Managing Director, Lundbeck (Ireland) Ltd, said, “The Lean on Me Pharmacy campaign builds on the existing education campaign that has been very successful in bringing depression out into the open.”
“Lean on Me Pharmacy is another step in this journey and I would encourage people to log on to www.leanonme.net to learn more about depression and how they might provide support.”
· 65% of people are unaware that a pharmacist is able to advise about depression.
· Half of all adults in Ireland are unaware that pharmacies have a consultation area for private discussion.
· GPs are the first point of contact for information or help for people with depression (77%), or if a family member is suffering with depression (74%).
· Two in five people (39%) say they are comfortable talking to their pharmacist about depression, with 49% agreeing pharmacists can provide useful information on mental health.