F1-a - Primary care and community pharmacy demonstration project for patients with depression in northern Ontario

1. Mental health and addiction support in primary care

  • Date: Friday, October 9, 2020
  • Concurrent Session F
  • Time: 11:00 am -11:45 am 
  • Style: Live Workshop
  • Focus: Practical (e.g. Presentation on how to implement programs and/or practices in the team environment)
  • Target Audience: Leadership, Clinical providers, Administrative staff, Representatives of stakeholder/partner organizations

Learning Objectives

  • Identify how primary care and community pharmacists can collaborate to provide comprehensive, integrated care while implementing best practices to improve patient and system outcomes.  
  • Determine how a structured approach to providing support for patients with depression can improve patient and provider experience.   
  • Identify barriers and facilitators to interprofessional collaboration in the primary care setting.


Mental illness is experienced by 1 in 3 Canadians during their lifetime. In northern regions there are unique challenges which serve as barriers to treating patients with mental health disorders. These include: low health care provider-to-population ratios, travel time to reach service providers, and local demand for services. Strengthening the integration of primary care and community pharmacy will help to provide care across the continuum and better support patients with depression.  A demonstration project was designed to establish partnerships in the community to better support improved health and wellbeing for patients with depression. This effort to integrate care aligns with the government’s priority around team based models of care which is supported through Bill 74, The People’s Health Care Act, 2019. The project aimed to develop and test a model demonstrating the benefits of provider collaboration in delivering care for patients in two northern communities (Sudbury and Espanola).  

This model, aligned to the Ontario Health (OH) Quality Standard for Major Depression, involves primary care practitioners asking patients to connect with their community pharmacist who provided regular follow-up and monitoring as well as additional supports regarding adjunct therapies for self-management. A shared model ensures professionals can contribute in a meaningful way to patients and the system by providing the right level of support in an accessible location to achieve health care goals and in some cases, help to relieve capacity issues in areas with limited access to primary care.


  • Anastasia Shiamptanis, PharmD, MHSc, Ontario College of Pharmacists
  • Jenn Osesky, Ontario Health     
  • Joanna de Graaf-Dunlop, Ontario Health (Quality)    


  • Jenn Osesky, Ontario Health     
  • Joanna de Graaf-Dunlop, Ontario Health (Quality)    
  • Jon Brunetti, Espanola Regional Hospital and Health Centre