Griffith University has secured $2.1 million research funding through the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
The research will significantly increase the role of the community pharmacy when working with people with mental health problems.
The three-year project will explore the specific medication needs of mental health consumers with illnesses like depression and anxiety. The research will also consider consumer expectations and experiences of community pharmacies.
It aims to develop the skills and expertise of community pharmacists to enable them to become more involved in the area of mental illness.
“The research will aim to help mental health consumers better manage their medication and to potentially capitalise on consumer opinion that has described the community pharmacy as a more relaxed environment where information about treatment and other services can be discussed,” Griffith team leader Associate Professor Amanda Wheeler said.
The project is funded by the Federal Government’s Department of Health and Ageing as part of the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement Research and Development Program managed by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
The research project will have a strong focus on mental health consumers and carers with recognition of their role as full partners with community pharmacy staff.
The Griffith team (pictured) will work closely with consumers and carers as key informants, educators and research participants to ensure that project outcomes are responsive to all stakeholder needs.
The research will be carried out in Queensland, northern NSW and Western Australia and will include approximately 500 mental health consumers, carers and industry leaders during the first stage of the project.
The project will also investigate the knowledge and skills of staff from 300 community pharmacies when working with mental health consumers and carers.
“To achieve better outcomes for people affected by mental illness, health professionals need to provide collaborative and integrated care which supports the recovery process,” Associate Professor Wheeler said.
“The use of online educational training and assessment will also make this project particularly effective and innovative.”
Associate Professor Wheeler, from Griffith University’s School of Human Services and Social Work, will lead a Griffith Health team that brings a diverse range and depth of multidisciplinary experience to the project.
Chief investigators Dr Jane Fowler, Dr Laetitia Hattingh, Dr Jasmina Fejzic, Denise McConnell and Professor David Shum will bring research expertise from the fields of mental health, pharmacy practice and behavioural change to the project.
The team will be further supported by a full-time project manager, senior research assistant and a Pharmacy Guild sponsored PhD scholar (Amary Mey).
This is the first time Griffith University had tendered for and won a major Pharmacy Guild project.
The win, supported by Griffith Enterprise, represents a significant research milestone for the University and is testament to the Griffith Health Group’s growing reputation as a national provider of inter-professional research and expertise.
Griffith Enterprise was pivotal in bringing the project together, assisting to scope and cost the project, providing commercial and negotiation advice as well as obtaining the necessary University endorsements and approvals.
Griffith Enterprise’s experience in this area allowed the University to build in additional funding, ensuring the project was economically sustainable.
This additional project funding allows the University to employ new staff including administration staff and six academic staff, as well as a project manager, a senior research assistant and a postgraduate scholarship.
Griffith Enterprise Business Development Manager for Health, Dr Naveed Khan, described the project as significant.
“This is one of two projects the University has secured with the Pharmacy Guild and the Federal Government and it is a reflection of the University’s successful inter-professional approach to research and strong reputation for capabilities and skill in this field,” he said.
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