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Recognising the positives and understanding the opportunities

If I’d been writing this article last January, it would have been very different. As we enter the second month of 2021, it’s incredible to think that we have spent almost an entire year with an unplanned and yet essential collective goal: staying at home to help save lives.

Here at the charity, we started last year with a sense of excitement. We were embarking on a new journey with our own refreshed objectives and a new 5-year strategy.

This renewed strategy supports our revised vision and mission which in turn have guided us through the pandemic and ensured that our focus on pharmacy wellbeing has been at the forefront of all that we do.

This last year we were also able to trial some new activities (our ACTNow wellbeing campaign) and together with sponsors and partners, to engage with individuals across the profession to gather valuable data and feedback. Our recent joint workforce wellbeing survey with the RPS highlighted high levels of burnout in the sector, with some evident gaps in support and barriers to access which we hope to address. Over the next twelve months the charity will look to develop a clear pathway to better assist those experiencing poor mental health to get the practical support they need. We’re also keen to address the issues raised around awareness, confidentiality and stigma and recognize that as an independent organisation, we can help remove some of those ‘confidentiality’ concerns felt by pharmacists and students.

In addition, we hope to enhance our volunteer schemes to ensure they reflect the diverse experiences, backgrounds and needs of the individuals within it, as well as to help us increase awareness.  And, with low and uneven awareness levels of the charity highlighted by the recent survey, we are conscious that we need to develop and grow our strong connections with organisations and individuals across the sector too.

Another strand of the charity’s work in 2021, again highlighted through the survey results, will be around workplace culture. Working in partnership with others in the sector, our charity hopes to support a shift in attitude and has committed to work with other organisations to encourage and help progress the destigmatisation of mental health in pharmacy.

With so many exciting opportunities to build on our achievements from 2020, we’re looking forward to an exciting year to further the charity’s support for our pharmacy family. We wish you all a happy and peaceful 2021, whatever is thrown our way.

This article first appeared in the Natural Pharmacy Business Magazine February/March 2021 edition

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