The Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) works on the principle of pharmacists supporting pharmacists.
The service provides a listening ear over the telephone to pharmacists and pharmacy interns and students. We also receive calls from family, friends, colleagues and pharmacy staff who are concerned about a pharmacist.
The volunteers who take the calls are all pharmacists and are trained in the crisis model of telephone counselling to support their colleagues. Training and support for the volunteers is provided by psychologists.
A 1300 telephone number is used to limit the cost to callers (cost of a local call). The volunteers are equipped with a mobile phone when they are on duty to receive the calls.
Callers are able to remain anonymous to enhance confidentiality. The only time confidentiality would be broken is if a caller or another person is at risk of harm.
The focus of the service is support, empowerment and information provision rather than advice. Volunteers are equipped with information and resources to assist with referring callers when necessary.
In supporting pharmacists, PSS aims to benefit the public by ensuring that pharmacists maintain their health and well-being and so are able to provide an appropriate level of service to the Australian community.
The type of issues leading pharmacists to seek support from PSS include (but are not limited to) crime related trauma, workplace and workload concerns, employment matters, substance abuse, mental health issues, suicide, ill-health, difficulties arising from professional and financial pressures, practice matters and ethical issues. A common feature is stress.