Blackwell Publishing – in the December 2006 issue of the Australian Journal of Rural Health – has published a study on the patient benefits of information and support provided by local pharmacists on the nature and management of depression.
The results lend support to the hypothesis that timely support provided by appropriately trained community pharmacists, working in conjunction with local doctors and mental health workers, helps to alleviate depression among people in rural areas.
Patients attach a great deal of importance to the receipt of good information about their medication – which means they are more likely to adhere to treatment. Pharmacists are excellently placed to be a ready source of this information – and because they are often the most readily accessible health professionals in rural communities, they are also in the position to provide regular patient follow-up during the first 2-3 months of drug therapy – again encouraging adherence to the treatment prescribed.
Lead author Dr. Judith Crockett said, “The data collected show that depression sufferers demanded greater information, improved support services and, most importantly, enhanced understanding of their experiences. Where this was provided, patients were more likely to remain on their medication and, as a result, were also more likely to experience improvements in their state of wellbeing. This study highlights the importance of having an integrated model of depression treatment and management – that is, community pharmacists working in conjunction with GPs and local mental health services, allied health workers – to provide best possible care under often difficult circumstances.“
This initiative has the potential to alleviate some of the current burden on overstretched GPs and mental health services. In addition, the research provides the foundation for a larger research project incorporating a greater synergy among rural health services – a project including enhanced training of pharmacists in mental health and the increased involvement of local GPs.
“Such an interdisciplinary approach will definitely be welcomed by patients, their families and the communities alike”, added Dr. Crockett.
This study is published in the December 2006 issue of the Australian Journal of Rural Health (Vol. 14. Issue 6). Media wishing to receive a PDF or to interview the authors should contact Alina Boey, Public Relations Asia, at 613-8359 1046.
About Australian Journal of Rural Health
The Australian Journal of Rural Health is the official journal of the National Rural Health Alliance, the peak non-government body for rural and remote health in Australia. "Rural health is an important and dynamic concern in Australia and around the world. The Australian Journal of Rural Health provides a wonderful mix of practical and academic medical, nursing and other health articles. This provides interesting and useful reading for those in rural practice and those involved in rural health care education, planning and development internationally. I look forward to each issue." - James T. B. Rourke, MD, CCFP(EM), MCISc, FCFP, FAAFP, Rural Family Physician, Goderich, Ontario, Canada.
About Blackwell Publishing
Blackwell Publishing is the world’s leading society publisher, partnering with 665 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and, to date has published close to 6,000 books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects. The company remains independent with 950 staff members in offices in the US, UK, Australia, China, Denmark, Singapore, Germany, and Japan. Blackwell’s mission as an expert publisher is to create long-term partnerships with clients to enhance learning, disseminate research, and improve the quality of professional practice.