Return to The CPNP Perspective issue main page.< Previous Article  Next Article >

Kelly N. Gable, PharmD, BCPP
Associate Professor
SIUE School of Pharmacy

Carlos Pardo-Pfeiffer
PharmD Candide 2019
SIUE School of Pharmacy

As a psychiatric pharmacist, it can be incredibly valuable both personally and professionally to maintain active involvement in local and national organizations that support your efforts. Participating in these organizations can be rewarding for the following reasons: 1) it demonstrates a level of care and support for patient well-being, 2) it allows you to openly promote mental health initiatives, thereby reducing stigma, and 3) it helps you to stay up-to-date with changes in person-centered care. Below is our top ten list of organizations (in alphabetical order) that we find valuable for psychiatric pharmacists. This is not an all-inclusive list and there are many more that you may find useful throughout your career.

Active Minds

Working across the nation on over 450 campus chapters, Active Minds is an incredible resource for anyone wanting to help “change the conversation about mental health” on college campuses. With plenty of resources and programs, there are a variety of ways to get involved. A wonderful example of activism from this organization is “Send Silence Packing,” a powerful representation of the impact of suicide on college campuses. Faculty members are encouraged to seek out and support Active Minds chapters within their university. Consider promoting collaborations between Active Minds and CPNP student chapters by encouraging joint mental health awareness campaigns on campus.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has a great collection of programs and resources, as well as opportunities for education and advocacy. Consider joining with others during a community or campus walk, or the 16 mile overnight “Out of the Darkness Walk” where you can stand up and join a supporting community walking for change. There are local programs in all 50 states.

Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks leads the way in supporting research and increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder. There are many volunteer opportunities, or for workplace engagement, consider “Lunch and Learn” sessions. Helping in your local community is possible as well by joining an Autism Speaks Walk, which occur all over the country. Their website offers educational resources for persons with autism, parents, and educators.

College of Psychiatric & Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP)

We may not need to explain this one too much to you, but CPNP provides a wealth of knowledge with plenty of training and informational resources specific for psychiatric pharmacists. They offer preparation materials for board certification and ongoing CE programming to maintain certification. The Mental Health Clinician, a peer-reviewed clinical practice journal, is a great place to publish original research and case reports. The CPNP Annual Meeting offers a wonderful opportunity to stay up-to-date within the field of psychiatric pharmacy and network with peers across the country.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

A peer-directed national organization with over 250 chapters and 650 support groups, DBSA is filled with opportunities for involvement, advocacy, and continuing education focused on depression and bipolar disorder. Additional wellness tools available through their website may be useful to suggest to your patients. Consider contacting your local DBSA and volunteering to lead a group on mental health medications.

Mental Health America (MHA)

Mental Health America leads with a goal of promoting mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, through various resources, volunteer and advocacy opportunities and training programs. This is a great organization to actively support legislative initiatives within your state, including mental health parity. They actively promote programs such as Mental Health First Aid, which is an excellent training opportunity for students.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

NAMI is a giant among mental health organizations. Founded in 1979, they are now found all over the nation with more than 500 local affiliates. NAMI has been a long-time advocate for improved access to care for individuals with mental health care needs. They have published a Grading the States report on America’s health care system for adults with serious mental illness. Consider reviewing your state’s report card. They also offer many educational classes, including peer-to-peer and family-to-family, which are invaluable support groups for individuals and families affected by mental illnesses. Local chapters welcome medication education write-ups for their newsletters from psychiatric pharmacists, or you could consider volunteering your time to serve on your NAMI chapter board of directors. We encourage you to take the stigma free pledge to stand for change and find a local “In Our Own Voice” presentation to attend.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The NIH is a leading source for research provided by the government and consists of 27 different institutes, one of which is for mental health (NIMH) and another for drug abuse (NIDA). Visit their websites for the latest updates, news, and other educational opportunities. NIMH and NIDA are excellent sources for the most current statistics and trends surrounding mental health and substance use disorders. As you enter into a career in psychiatric pharmacy, be aware of funding opportunities available within these organizations.  

Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center is a federally run resource center funded by SAMHSA that helps build awareness and support for suicide prevention. Education and training modules are available for several topics, such as Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM). This should be your go-to resource for suicide prevention education materials. They actively support the use of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which offers free materials on their website (https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org) that you can provide to patients.

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people under 25. They offer training opportunities for professionals, designed for adults working with youth. You can also apply to volunteer as an advocacy or engagement volunteer. This is an excellent organization to recommend for families and individuals within the LGBTQ community who need further mental health support.

We encourage you to consider looking for an organization that is best suited to your personal and professional interests both on and off of this list. Active involvement both locally and nationally allows you to work together within your community to overcome barriers surrounding mental health care treatment and recovery.

Return to The CPNP Perspective issue main page.< Previous Article  Next Article >