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The feasibility and acceptability of a brief psychological intervention for adults with long-term health conditions and subthreshold depression delivered via community pharmacies: a mixed methods evaluation—the Community Pharmacies Mood Intervention Study (CHEMIST)

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Clare BambraORCiD, Professor Adam ToddORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022, The Author(s).Background: Adults with long-term health conditions (LTCs) are more likely to experience depressive symptoms which can worsen health outcomes and quality of life, and increase healthcare costs. Subthreshold depression may go undetected and/or untreated. The Community Pharmacies Mood Intervention Study (CHEMIST) explored whether community pharmacies represent a suitable setting to offer brief psychological support to people with LTCs and comorbid subthreshold depression. Methods: A feasibility intervention study with a nested mixed methods evaluation was employed. Adults with subthreshold depression and a minimum of one LTC were recruited from community pharmacies/local general practices and offered a brief psychological support intervention (‘Enhanced Support Intervention’ (ESI)), based on behavioural activation within a Collaborative Care framework. The intervention included up to six sessions supported by pharmacy staff (‘ESI facilitators’) trained to deliver the ESI within the community pharmacy setting. Recruitment, retention rates and engagement with the ESI were assessed. Semi-structured, one-to-one interviews with pharmacy staff and study participants, and a focus group with pharmacy staff, explored experiences and acceptability of the study and the ESI. Themes were mapped onto constructs of the Theoretical Framework of Acceptability. Results: Recruitment of ESI participants was challenging and slower than anticipated despite the varied methods of recruitment employed; although, this was useful in identifying barriers and enabling factors for participation. Engagament with the ESI was good with n=17 (71%) recruited participants commencing the ESI. The ESI was found to be acceptable to participants and ESI facilitators. Retention rate at 4 months was good n=20 (87.0%). The main barriers to identifying potential participants for pharmacy staff were lack of time, resources and limited experience in research. The ESI training and support manual were acceptable to ESI facilitators. The ESI and supporting patient workbook were acceptable to people with LTCs and subthreshold depression. Conclusions: Community pharmacies were viewed as an acceptable setting in which to deliver preventative brief psychological support to people with LTCs at risk of depression. This feasibility study provided important data to inform the design of a pilot randomised controlled trial in this setting and highlighted important considerations for future pharmacy-based research. Trial registration: ISRCTN11290592

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chew-Graham CA, Kitchen CEW, Gascoyne S, Littlewood E, Coleman E, Bailey D, Crosland S, Pearson C, Ali S, Badenhorst J, Bambra C, Hewitt C, Jones C, Keding A, McMillan D, Sloan C, Todd A, Toner P, Whittlesea C, Watson M, Gilbody S, Ekers D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Pilot and Feasibility Studies

Year: 2022

Volume: 8

Issue: 1

Print publication date: 01/12/2022

Online publication date: 03/02/2022

Acceptance date: 25/01/2022

Date deposited: 06/03/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2055-5784

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd


DOI: 10.1186/s40814-022-00992-7


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Funder referenceFunder name
14/186/11National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)