Expanding the profession’s scope of practice will increase pressure on pharmacists’ mental health and wellbeing, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has warned.

As pharmacists move towards providing more patient-facing care, they should ‘receive adequate remuneration that reflects the value of their work’, said FIP, as it warned: ‘Fair compensation is a crucial aspect of mental health support.’

In addition, the federation called for any programme developed as part of pharmacists’ expanded scope of practice to include support for mental health and wellbeing for the profession as an ‘intrinsic part’.

FIP recommended that:

  • Public awareness campaigns should be launched, to educate the public about ‘the essential role and responsibilities of pharmacists in healthcare’
  • The effectiveness of mental health support measures for pharmacy teams should be monitored

This comes as 62% of community pharmacists polled by FIP in a global survey reported experiencing burnout or other mental health concerns relating to their work as pharmacists.

‘Urgency in developing and implementing policies, programmes and support systems to combat burnout is essential to allow pharmacists to keep adding value to healthcare systems and offer an attractive professional pathway to younger individuals,’ the FIP report said.

Respondents highlighted inadequate staffing, long working hours, a lack of work-life balance and increased financial pressures as the top factors with a negative impact on mental health and wellbeing.

Only 10% of the 768 individuals surveyed said they were aware of any policies or formal programmes aimed at addressing workplace pressures and supporting mental health in their regions.

But despite the pressures reported in the FIP survey, approximately 60% of community pharmacists ‘expressed a strong belief in the future of their profession reflecting a strong conviction in the sustainability of the role and future potential of community pharmacy’, the report added.

And nearly 90% of respondents ‘expressed high confidence in their professional competence, providing strong evidence of a profession that is well-prepared and willing to meet evolving healthcare challenges and opportunities’.

FIP called for future research to build upon this ‘optimistic outlook’, while ‘addressing the pressing challenges faced by pharmacists’.

It suggested that targeted interventions and policies could be developed with an understanding of ‘how the positive and negative factors contributing to the mental health and wellbeing of pharmacists interact within specific healthcare systems and cultural contexts’.