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Funded counselling sessions rocket 200% in a year, sector’s charity says

Pharmacist Support logged a 214% increase in funded counselling sessions between 2021 and 2022, the charity’s latest impact report has revealed.

The report showed a “large increase in mental health service use” over the course of 2022, when Pharmacist Support was “able to provide” 911 funded counselling sessions, it said on Monday (July 10).

This was a 214% increase on the number of these sessions the charity provided in 2021, it said.

And Pharmacist Support’s addictions counsellor provided 65 support calls to 13 people via the charity’s addiction support service in 2022, the report said.

Meanwhile, 31 people were given support by one of the charity’s Listening Friends, representing 51 hours of peer support.

Read more: Three-quarters of pharmacy workforce considering quitting, finds RPS survey

Pharmacist Support’s chair of trustees Esther Sadler-Williams said that the charity had used the research finding from its annual joint workforce wellbeing survey with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) “to ensure that we provide the support that is needed by our pharmacy family right now”.

“It has been critical that we were able to respond and adapt quickly to need, which is something we are particularly proud of,” she said.

The charity was able to step up its number of funded counselling sessions in 2022 due to “continued funding” from the COVID-19 Health Support Appeal (CHSA), she added.

It follows Pharmacist Support’s most recent ACTNow wellbeing campaign, which launched in September and focused on tackling “workplace culture and stigma”.

Read more: Pharmacist Support launches campaign to tackle workplace culture

The charity said that last year’s campaign went from “strength to strength”, with a 49% uplift in signups across its three targeted campaign periods on 2021 levels and social media engagement up a whopping 147%.

Ms Sadler-Williams said that "as a small charity" Pharmacist Support “couldn’t achieve all that we have done alone”, and pointed to the “dedication of our growing pool of amazing volunteers, and the support of our partners and donors”.

She recognised the “ongoing support” of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) and the manufacturer Teva “in particular”, although she noted wellbeing activity partnerships with Boots, Well Pharmacy and Day Lewis.

Read more: Pharmacist Support offers pre-GPhC exam wellbeing resources to trainees

In January, Pharmacist Support’s joint workforce wellbeing survey uncovered soaring numbers in the pharmacy workforce looking to leave their job.

The survey of 1,496 respondents – carried out from September 20 to October 14 2022 – revealed that 73% had considered leaving their role or the profession entirely.

This marks a sharp increase on 2021 results – which revealed that 33% had considered leaving the profession altogether.

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