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Pharmacists urged to talk about mental health at the Pharmacy Show

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Pharmacists urged to talk about mental health at the Pharmacy Show

By Neil Trainis

The founder of the Mental Wealth Academy Harpreet Chana held a session on stress and burnout at the Pharmacy Show this morning during which she urged pharmacists and their teams to open up and talk about their problems.

Chana, who has spoken publicly about her own struggles with depression and how she eventually found the strength to seek help, led delegates through the differences between stress and burnout and how the former leads to the latter if it is not managed properly.

Stress, she said, was "a normal human reaction to new situations, pressures, threats" while burnout was a "state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress."

She said stress in pharmacy can be caused by a variety of factors, including pharmacists' tendency to strive for "perfectionism" in the knowledge they cannot afford to make a mistake and their reluctance to pause, take a step back and take a break because they are scared their business "may fall down."

"Self-criticism" and a fear of failure leads to stress, she said, adding that pharmaciss use their own high standards to judge others and get stressed when they feel staff are not meeting those standards.

Harpreet suggested pharmacists can deal with stress in several ways, including setting limits with themselves, stop checking emails after a certain time, leaving "work at work" and avoid taking it home, stop saying ‘yes’ to tasks when they don’t want to say ‘yes,'  schedule downtime and take regular breaks.

She also urged pharmacists to have "check-ins" with their staff, including discussions with the team about what went well and what did not go well and congratulate team members on what they did well. Harpreet said teams should nominate a "well-being champion" to ensure everyone in the team has someone they can talk to.

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