(Washington, DC) — Today, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), in partnership with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), released the following statement on establishing Pharmacy Workforce Suicide Awareness Day to be recognized annually on September 20 as part of September’s Suicide Prevention Month.
According to the latest available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the eleventh leading cause of death for Americans as of 2021. Further, a recent study published by JAPhA showed that pharmacists are at an increased risk of death by suicide when compared to the general public. According to that study, the suicide rate among pharmacists in the United States is 20 per 100,000, which is higher than the general population rate of 12 per 100,000.
Establishing a Pharmacy Workforce Suicide Awareness Day is an effort to increase awareness and discussion around a highly stigmatized topic that disproportionately affects healthcare professionals, including the pharmacy workforce. Recognizing this day will support pharmacists, pharmacy residents, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians by providing resources to prevent suicide and manage mental health conditions.
“Members of the pharmacy workforce encounter unique stressors throughout their education, training, and careers, which places them and other healthcare professionals at higher risk of experiencing occupational burnout, moral injury, and mental health crises,” said Paul W. Abramowitz, PharmD, ScD (Hon), FASHP, CEO of ASHP. “Death by suicide is a tragic but preventable loss to individuals, organizations, and our profession. By collectively raising awareness of this grave issue, we are calling on members of our profession to support each other by urging conversation, decreasing stigma, recognizing warning signs, and intervening when necessary. ASHP is proud to partner with APhA and other pharmacy organizations on establishing Pharmacy Workforce Suicide Awareness Day and stands committed to supporting our colleagues and the future of our profession by working together to reach zero deaths by suicide.”
“I am delighted that we have been able to partner with ASHP to mark this day and bring recognition to this critical problem. Death by suicide among pharmacists occurs at nearly twice the rate as non-pharmacists, a statistic that is wholly unacceptable and completely heartbreaking,” said Michael D. Hogue, PharmD, FAPhA, FNAP, FFIP, executive vice president and CEO of APhA. “I’m proud of the work we have been able to do together to establish this day of recognition and to partner with so many other organizations who recognize the pressing need to address the root causes of work-related burnout and hopelessness resulting in suicide. Everyone at Team APhA is committed to recognizing mental health concerns and having the conversations that will help prevent additional deaths by suicide and end the well-being crisis.”
More information and resources to raise awareness of, prevent, and respond to suicide can be found on ASHP’s website here and on APhA’s website here.
Organizations that are interested in supporting these efforts are encouraged to sign up to be acknowledged as an organizational sponsor of Pharmacy Workforce Suicide Awareness Day.
If you are feeling alone and having thoughts of suicide—whether or not you are in crisis—or know someone who is, talk to someone you can trust by calling or texting “988,” the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
ASHP is the largest association of pharmacy professionals in the United States, representing 60,000 pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians in all patient care settings, including hospitals, ambulatory clinics, and health-system community pharmacies. For over 80 years, ASHP has championed innovation in pharmacy practice, advanced education, and professional development, and served as a steadfast advocate for members and patients. In addition, ASHP is the accrediting body for pharmacy residency and technician training programs and provides comprehensive resources to support pharmacy professionals through every stage of their careers. For more information, visit ashp.org and ASHP’s consumer website, SafeMedication.com.
The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) is the only organization advancing the entire pharmacy profession. APhA leads the pharmacy profession by supporting pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians in their role optimizing medication use and patient health outcomes and ensuring patients have access to pharmacists’ care. We do this through our strong and effective advocacy, top notch education, practice tools and resources, dissemination of evidence, and opportunities for members to engage and learn from each other. APhA is the pharmacy voice at the table in developing national guidelines, policies, and best practices that advance the profession and patient care.