Barriers to medication counselling for people with mental health disorders: a six country study

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S. Elina Aaltonen
Niina P. Laine
Daisy Volmer
Manjiri S. Gharat
Ruta Muceniece
Anna Vitola
Veerle Foulon
Franciska A. Desplenter
Marja Airaksinen
Timothy F. Chen
J. Simon Bell


Mental Disorders, Community Pharmacy Services, Attitude of Health Personnel, Australia, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, India, Latvia


Provision of medication information may improve adherence and prevent medication related problems. People with mental health disorders commonly receive less medication counselling from pharmacists than people with other common long term and persistent disorders.

Objective: The objective of this study was to compare and contrast barriers pharmacy students perceive toward providing medication counselling for people with mental health disorders in Australia, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, India and Latvia.

Methods: Barriers identified by third-year pharmacy students as part of the International Pharmacy Students’ Health Survey were content analysed using a directed approach. Students’ responses were categorised as pharmacist related, patient related, health-system related, or social or cultural related. Quantitative data were analysed using SPSS version 14.0.

Results: Survey instruments were returned by 649 students. Of the respondents, 480 identified one or more barriers to medication counselling for people with mental health disorders. Patient related factors accounted for between 25.3% and 36.2% of barriers identified by the pharmacy students. Pharmacist related factors accounted for between 17.6% and 45.1% of the barriers identified by the pharmacy students. Students in India were more likely to attribute barriers to pharmacist and social and cultural related factors, and less likely to health-system related factors, than students studying in other countries.

Conclusion: The nature of barriers identified by pharmacy students differed according to the country in which they studied. Undergraduate and postgraduate pharmacy education programs may need to be amended to address common misconceptions among pharmacy students.

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