Independent charity Pharmacist Support has reported ‘significant increases’ in demand for its counselling support and financial assistance across Great Britain in 2022.

In its annual impact report published this week, the charity said that it provided 911 funded counselling sessions to 133 people in 2022 – over three times as many sessions than the 290 provided in 2021.

And through its ‘Listening Friend’ peer support service it offered 51 hours of peer support to 31 individuals.

The charity also offers financial assistance and support, and in 2022 it awarded 44% more financial grants than in the previous year.

And in December 2022 it launched a pilot for an addiction peer support service that will run until September 2023, in addition to its addiction support helpline.

The charity offers support to anyone who has ever registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), as well as trainee and student pharmacists in Great Britain.

Chair of trustees Esther Sadler-Williams said the charity was ‘particularly proud of’ being able to ‘respond and adapt quickly’ to the demands and ‘provide the support that is needed by our pharmacy family right now’.

She highlighted the 2022 Workforce Wellbeing Survey, conducted jointly by Pharmacist Support and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, which found high levels of burnout, overwork and poor mental health.

This particularly affected community pharmacists, with 45% of community pharmacists reporting poor mental health, compared to an average of 37% across the whole of pharmacy.

Community pharmacists also reported higher rates of abuse from patients, with 69% of community pharmacists responding to the survey reporting having experienced verbal or physical abuse from patients and the public, compared to an average of 44% across all pharmacists.

Ms Sadler-Williams also thanked funders including the Covid-19 Health Support Appeal (CHSA) and corporate donations, which increased by 36% in 2022.

In particular, she recognised the ‘ongoing support’ of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA), which has provided more than £200,000 of donations since partnering with Pharmacist Support in 2017, and pharmaceutical company Teva UK, which has sponsored the charity’s Act Now campaigns, shared awareness of the charity and partnered to deliver live online wellbeing workshops to Teva One members.

And she said that pharmacy multiples Boots, Well Pharmacy and Day Lewis had partnered with the charity to develop wellbeing activities, ‘as well as a host of other organisations whose support enabled us to reach many more individuals’.

The charity also thanked legacy donors such as Joy Wingfield, a leading figure in pharmacy law and ethics.

‘She gave immense support to her profession during her life and continues to support her

peers through leaving a legacy to Pharmacist Support in her will. Thanks to Joy’s gift, this facilitated our ability during 2022 to meet the increasing demand for wellbeing support,’ said Ms Sadler-Williams, who encouraged others to consider leaving a gift to the charity in their will.