Developing resilience and wellbeing in pharmacy students

David Morgan & Karen Anne Gunnell


A recent report by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain highlights a recent survey of 1300 UK pharmacists and pharmacy students into their mental health and wellbeing (Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, 2019). In this survey nearly three quarters of respondents said “training or working life has had and had an impact on [their] mental health and wellbeing at some point.” (Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, 2019). This echoes research conducted in the USA, which has shown that “pharmacists report lower health-related quality of life and higher levels of depression than the general population and other health professionals.” (Chisholm-Burns, 2019).

In academic year 2019-2020, the School of Pharmacy and Bioengineering has introduced a number of methods to support students with their health and wellbeing. These were based on a number of the aspects of the Resilience Framework for Adults. (Boingboing, 2017). These included the concepts of: belonging, understanding responsibilities, making friends and mixing, making work and learning successful as possible, and peer support, amongst others.

A number of activities were planned for MPharm Stages One to Four. These included a week long induction event called “PhabMaster”. The students were split into small groups to undertake fun tasks related to their course and starting university. We also introduced a specific resilience workshop for stage one called ‘Learning from mistakes’. We worked with the KIITE learning support team and Keele Mental Health to deliver study skills and stress management workshops.

Pharmacy students also have access support from their specific wellbeing charity Pharmacist Support (Pharmacist Support, 2019). Partnering with them has allowed us to provide further student wellbeing support workshops on time management and assertiveness.

Boingboing, 2017. The Resilience Framework for Adults. [Online]
Available at: [Accessed 11th December 2019].
Chisholm-Burns, M. A., 2019. Building resilience to combat stress, burnout, and suicidal ideation among pharmacists. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 76(18), p. 1364–1367.
Pharmacist Support, 2019. Who we help - students. [Online]
Available at: [Accessed 12th December 2019].
Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, 2019. Pharmacists suffer the mental health consequences of workplace pressures. [Online]
Available at: [Accessed 11th December 2019].