August 10, 2020 Ashley Struble

Managing Mental Health

From a Specialty Pharmacy Clinical Pharmacist – I called one of our oncology patients for a regularly scheduled follow-up when she shared she had been struggling with her emotions and anxiety and had difficulty getting an appointment with various mental health clinics. We used our call to discuss her overall well-being since she had been stable on her medication.

She waited close to 2 weeks for a call back from various clinics and was very much in need of support. She mentioned she wanted to try meditation techniques to ease her mind as she was determined to make a change. We reviewed common phrases/exercises to help get her started such as “empty your mind” to slow her thought process and not let a single thought create an entire story.

I also advised her to start with a more simple practice of finding a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down and breathing in through her nose and out through her mouth. Then once she felt comfortable, focusing on counting to 10 and then backward from 10 to 1. This exercise gave her mind something simple to focus on to help limit the thoughts running away from her. She liked the simplicity of this and intended to work the exercises suggested, and I promised to follow up with her.

In the meantime, I reached out to her specialty pharmacy liaison, who arranged contact with a social worker and a wellness support group run by the cancer clinic. No later than 24 hours after our call, she joined a weekly support group meeting and she saw two different mental health providers. She was thankful we could get her the help she needed so quickly, and by our next follow up was happy to share she was feeling better.