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Mental Health And Addictions Initiative Launches In Pharmacies

Pharmacies act on the campaign to advocate for health equity for people experiencing mental health and addiction challenges.

Equally Well Collaborative Aotearoa, a leading advocate for addressing unmet physical health needs of people with lived experience of mental health and addiction, has taken a bold step in addressing the alarming issue of premature deaths among people experiencing mental health and addiction challenges.

The collaborative launched the "SEE US" activation campaign last year, which focuses on the importance of pharmacists and other primary care providers overcoming diagnostic overshadowing. This occurs when mental health and addiction histories take precedence over physical health needs, leading to a lack of trust and engagement with healthcare professionals, and contributing to inequitable outcomes.

This year, they are going a step further with the support of Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (PGNZ), who decided to get on board with this initiative with a pilot campaign consisting of both an education module and an in-store initiative that will be implemented on the 7th of November 2023 in Unichem Neill’s Pharmacy in Mt Wellington, Auckland. This will provide valuable insights and serve as a foundation for scaling the initiative nationwide.

The SEE US campaign draws on the real-life experiences of people who have encountered diagnostic overshadowing, highlighting the need to look beyond the health history and see the person. Statistics show premature mortality rates are two to three times higher with people experiencing mental health and addiction issues, and two-thirds of these premature deaths can be attributed to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other physical illnesses.

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At the heart of the campaign are the stories of people like Rika, Jess, and Ross, who are all too familiar with diagnostic overshadowing. Their inspiring stories are available for viewing, and they volunteered to be part of the campaign through the commendable efforts of the Drive Consumer Direction network.

It is essential that people with mental health and addiction histories feel comfortable when seeking support in pharmacies and from other primary health providers and confident they will be treated as people. By broadcasting a clear message of ‘we see you, whatever your health history’, the initiative aims to foster a welcoming environment for everyone.
For more information, please visit

Editor's Notes

About Equally Well Collaborative Aotearoa:
Equally Well is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people facing mental health and addiction challenges in New Zealand.

About Pharmacy Guild
As a membership organisation, the Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand provides support and services to community pharmacy owners. We are committed to ensuring members realise their professional and financial potential in today’s challenging business environment.

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