How can pharmacists help?

Pharmacists! We need your help to improve treatment in mental health. If you are interested in helping out, please read on.

In mental health, it’s not that we lack effective treatments, it’s that certain treatments will only work for certain people. Without tools that can tell us what treatment is right for what person, mental health practitioners are forced to prescribe a first-line treatment and adopt a wait-and-see approach. Patients who do not benefit after several weeks of treatment are moved to a second-line treatment and clinicians must wait and see again. The associated individual and societal burden is enormous.

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*Statistic is based on a recent survey of 100 GPs in the UK. More information here.

One of the issues we face is that mental health disorders are not unitary phenomena. They arise from the interaction of many genetic and environmental factors, such as early adversity, stress, nutrition, social support and so on. This means that patients who present with near identical symptoms may not respond in the same way to every treatment. The Gillan Lab (with the support of MQ Mental Health) are striving to make progress with this through a large-scale observational study and the application of predictive machine learning. We want to use this rich complexity to develop a tool that can tell doctors, in advance, who will respond best to each treatment.

This is a tall order.

To achieve this, we aim to follow thousands of patients who are just about to switch to a new antidepressant or start one for the first time. We have developed an innovative internet-based methodology that allows people to complete participation from the comfort of their own homes, from any part of the world.

Why are we asking for support from pharmacists?

Recruiting a sufficiently large sample of eligible individuals is a major challenge for this form of research. It certainly helps that our internet-based methodology facilitates worldwide participation (and 100s of millions worldwide are prescribed antidepressants each year).

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But, it is still very challenging to reach individuals within the narrow time period for which they are eligible to commence participation (i.e. between receiving a prescription and starting to take the antidepressant +/- a few days).

For this reason, we need pharmacists from all over the world to join the effort by sharing these flyers with individuals who are filling a prescription for antidepressants.

If you are willing to help out with this, please provide your name and pharmacy postal address below so that we can send the flyers to you.

 

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