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Pharmacy teams eligible for free psychological first aid training

The course will help attendees understand how to identify people at an "increased risk of distress"

Frontline staff and volunteers in England will be given access to a psychological first aid training course to support those affected by COVID-19, the government has announced.

The free course, which the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) confirmed to C+D yesterday (June 15) that pharmacy teams are eligible for, takes approximately 90 minutes to complete but can be finished in intervals.

The course will help pharmacy teams and other frontline staff develop their skills and confidence in offering phycological support to those whose lives have been impacted by COVID-19, “including on issues such as job worries, bereavement or isolation”, the DH said. The course will also help staff and volunteers understand how to identify people at an “increased risk of distress, and how to offer practical and emotional support”, the DH added.

“Staff and volunteers in many different roles are working tirelessly to provide crucial support at this time and are often a critical touchpoint in identifying those who may be affected,” minister for mental health Nadine Dorries said.

Frontline staff can access the course and free learning material on social learning platform Future Learn.

Developed by Public Health England (PHE), the course also offers frontline workers “additional resources on how to take care of their own mental health and wellbeing”, PHE medical director Yvonne Doyle said.

Since April 8, pharmacy teams have also been able to access to a free mental health hotline offering phycological support from trained volunteers during the pandemic.

Pharmacy charity Pharmacist Support launched the ACTNow wellbeing campaign last month, urging pharmacists and pharmacy students to look after their mental health especially in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

What do you make of this training?

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

When I first saw this, I thought it referred to mental health help FOR us, not for us to give to others. It's utterly ridiculous to expect one of the worst affected sectors for stress and overwork caused by Coronavirus to also and additionally be expected to counsel others - has the Government added a couple of extra hours in the day to fit all of this in??

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I seem to remember seeing an article on here about mental health issues before; pharmacy is not the ideal location for such conversations for a myriad of reasons, nor do I believe customers see the pharmacy premises as such.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

With an hour and a half of training and zilch experience, it seems like we are.....

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I can't imagine that an often cramped space that typically barely has enough space to accommodate two chairs and a small table is conducive to a positive mental health conversation, quite the opposite!

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

We couldn't do that now anyway - not 2 metres away!

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