Pharmacist Angela Hanggi always starts her long-acting injection appointments by asking her consumers how they have been feeling since she last saw them. She was surprised when she was recently met with a new response from one of her consumers: “Not good.”
The consumer shared that she had a suicide plan that she had considered executing the week prior. Recalling her Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training, Hanggi recognized the consumer’s signs of severe depression and suicidal thoughts and quickly utilized her learnings. From her training, Hanggi knew the importance of continuing to foster a conversation with the consumer and ensuring she wasn’t left her by herself. Hanggi thanked the consumer for sharing this with her and assured her that her mental health was Hanggi’s top priority. She asked the consumer when she started experiencing these feelings and if she had told anyone else about it.
“I let the consumer know that I appreciated that she was honest with me,” said Hanggi. “I shared that we’re here to keep people safe and healthy.” After further discussion, Hanggi learned that the consumer had a virtual appointment scheduled with her therapist that she had planned to take in her car.
“I wanted to make sure the consumer was safe, so I worked with the clinic to get the consumer set up in a room for her virtual appointment and ensured all of her needs were being met,” Hanggi said.
After speaking with her therapist, the consumer shared that she appreciated how Hanggi managed the situation, emphasizing how she admired her calm reaction.
“The consumer told me she didn’t want to talk to anybody because she didn’t want to alarm anyone,” said Hanggi.
Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 12.2 million American adults seriously thought about suicide in 2020. On-site Genoa pharmacists are uniquely positioned to alert health care providers and other clinic staff for additional support when they recognize warning signs of a mental health crisis, like severe depression and suicidal thoughts. Pharmacists are specialized in behavioral health and are trained in MHFA, a skills-based training course that teaches pharmacists how to respond to a mental health and substance use crisis.
“The Mental Health First Aid training provided me with helpful tools to navigate this situation,” Hanggi said. “It was like having a toolbox and being able to pull out the tool I needed to help this consumer.”
Hanggi shared that today the consumer is doing well and continues to come in for her LAI appointments.