A survey of Canadian and Australian pharmacists’ stigma of suicide Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background: There is limited information available regarding community pharmacists’ stigma of suicide. Pharmacists regularly interact with people at risk of suicide and stigmatizing attitudes may impact care. Objective: To measure community pharmacists’ stigma of suicide. Method: Pharmacists in Canada and Australia completed an online survey with the Stigma of Suicide Scale–Short Form. Data were analysed descriptively and with univariate and multivariate analyses. Results: Three hundred and ninety-six pharmacists returned completed surveys (Canada n = 235; Australia n = 161; female 70%; mean age = 38.6 ± 12.7 years). The rate of endorsement of stigmatizing terms was low overall. Canadian and Australian pharmacists differed (p < 0.05) for several variables (e.g. age, friend or relative with a mental illness, training in mental health crisis). Pharmacists without someone close to them living with a mental illness were more likely to strongly agree/agree with words describing those who die by suicide as pathetic, stupid, irresponsible, and cowardly. Those without a personal diagnosis of mental illness strongly agreed/agreed with the terms immoral, irresponsible, vengeful, and cowardly. More Australian pharmacists strongly agreed/agreed that people who die by suicide are irresponsible, cowardly, and disconnected. Independent variables associated with a higher stigma were male sex, Australian, and negative perceptions about suicide preventability. Conclusion: Community pharmacists frequently interact with people at risk of suicide and generally have low agreement of stigmatizing terms for people who die by suicide. Research should focus on whether approaches such as contact-based education can minimize existing stigma.


  • Murphy, Andrea L
  • O’Reilly, Claire L
  • Ataya, Randa
  • Doucette, Steve P
  • Martin-Misener, Ruth
  • Rosen, Alan
  • Gardner, David M

publication date

  • January 2019