To explore Canadian and Australian community pharmacists’ practice experiences in caring for people at risk of suicide.
We conducted a thematic analysis of 176 responses to an open-ended extension question in an online survey.
Four themes were identified and include referrals and triage, accessibility for confiding, emotional toll, and stigma. Subthemes included gatekeeping the medication supply, sole disclosure, planning for end of life, concerns of support people, assessing the validity of suicidality, gaps in the system, not directly asking, ill-equipped, resources in the pharmacy, relying on others to continue care, and attention seeking.
Community pharmacists are caring for patients at risk of suicide frequently, and often with patients seeking the help of pharmacists directly. Pharmacists engage in activities and actions that would be considered outside of the traditional dispensing roles and provide support and intervention to people at risk of suicide through collaboration and other mechanisms. Further research to determine appropriate education and training and postvention supports is required.