Pharmacists available to help with suicide prevention; new training offered by Missouri House Bill


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Pharmacists in Missouri could join the battle to prevent suicide.

This is part of House Bill 1644, which is being debated in Jefferson City, to provide suicide awareness and prevention training to pharmacists. The suicide awareness and prevention training would last two hours. It would not be mandatory for pharmacists to complete it, but would be recommended.

Colby Grove is the Pharmacy Manager of The Pharmacy at Pleasant Hope and supports this additional training.

“If you can reach out and help someone or save someone, I mean it works wonders for them, their family and everyone involved,” Grove says. “The whole community. It will never be easy, but if you can just tell something is going on, do you need to talk to someone. Sometimes it’s as simple as that.

Grove says he knows the families and clients they serve well, seeing them often. Grove says it also makes him aware of any changes in behavior or attitude.

“If they’re on a drug for 30 days, we’ll see them 12 times a year,” Grove says. “A lot of times if they have mental health issues, we’ll see them more than that.”

Grove says people can be more open with their pharmacists when they need help.

“They’ll maybe spend five or ten minutes with a provider and here sometimes I’ll talk to people for 30 to 45 minutes,” Grove says. “You learn a lot in that time frame and you can see signs and point people in the right direction when they need to.”

Stephanie Appleby is executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which provides mental health help to locals. It can take a long time to go to a provider and ask questions, which is why Appleby says pharmacists helping fill a void in the community is crucial.

“We know that many antidepressants have a black box warning of suicidal risk and behavior,” Appleby says. “I think it is important that we can communicate with our pharmacists and say hello, these are things that I live, what should I do? »

If House Bill 1644 passes, the pharmacy board will create the guidelines for training. The two hours of suicide awareness and prevention education would count toward the total continuing education requirement for each pharmacist’s license renewal. Appleby says this training will also give pharmacists more tools during those conversations.

“I’m also a mental health patient and we feel comfortable going up to someone and saying hello, I’m having a hard time,” Appleby says. “I think the more we can educate and educate about the mind, the more we break down the stigma and the more comfortable we are bringing people in and sharing what you feel.”

If approved and signed by the governor, this bill will take effect on August 28.

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