To compare how community pharmacists felt they and other health professionals perceived individuals with depression and schizophrenia and whether pharmacists' attitudes and other factors affected willingness to provide services to patients with mental illness.
Northeastern United States in summer 2006.
Pharmacists at 750 community pharmacies.
A survey was mailed to the community pharmacies, which were randomly selected from a list obtained from a state board of pharmacy in the northeastern United States.
Main outcome measures
Pharmacist attitudes toward individuals with schizophrenia and depression and willingness to provide pharmacy services to patients with mental illness.
292 surveys were completed (response rate 38.9%). The pharmacists surveyed felt that they had more positive attitudes toward individuals with depression and schizophrenia compared with other pharmacists (P ≤ 0.01). Compared with physicians, pharmacists perceived themselves as having less negative attitudes toward those with depression (P ≤ 0.001) but greater negative attitudes toward individuals with schizophrenia (P ≤ 0.05). More pharmacists were willing to provide services to those with asthma than those with mental illness (P ≤ 0.001). Pharmacists were more likely to provide services to patients with mental illness if they had fewer negative attitudes for those with depression or schizophrenia and placed a greater value on counseling patients (P ≤ 0.001). Minority pharmacists were more willing to provide services to patients with mental illness.
Community pharmacists have more negative views of schizophrenia than depression and felt that they perceived those with schizophrenia more negatively than physicians. Our findings suggest two ways to improve community pharmacist willingness to provide services to patients with mental illness: reduce negative attitudes toward patients with mental illness and increase pharmacists' perceived value of counseling patients.