Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

Mental health momentum

JANUARY 2021 - Pharmacists are seeing the mental health impacts of COVID-19 first-hand. Their role in mental health support has grown over the last two years, in large part because of their accessibility when it was difficult for individuals to see many other healthcare providers.

“That need for convenient, confidential and expert access is not unique to COVID-19 either,” says Daniel Burton, a clinical pharmacist based in Calgary who often recalls seeing mental health concerns as a comorbid issue with patients who had been referred to him. “People were not having these issues properly addressed so they weren’t getting better,” he says. “If we don’t manage the mental health aspects, the rest doesn’t matter.”

Now Burton, working with researchers from the University of Alberta, is the principal investigator for the Mental Health Assessment and Prescribing by Alberta Pharmacists (MAP-AP) project, supported by CFP, to encourage expanded roles for pharmacists in mental health.

He urges all community pharmacists to start offering support to their patients by asking questions. “Every interaction you have with a patient is an opportunity to check in—more frequently than the family doctor.”

Already established community pharmacy initiatives like the Bloom Program in Nova Scotia, are also helping pharmacists feel more confident about providing services that are significantly improving mental health and addictions care.

Get the full story in CFP's Changing Face of Pharmacy Fall 2021 Report. Email Paul Kidston ( to get your copy.

[Photo credit: iStock/netrun78]