MSc Clinical Pharmacy / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Mental Health

Course unit fact file
Unit code PHAR63031
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Pharmacy
Available as a free choice unit? No


Early in the course, students will be introduced to the mental health unit and assessment strategy, followed by learning about the Mental Health Act, substance misuse and mental health, the relationship between mental health and physical health, revisiting psychopharmacology, and guidance on completing pharmaceutical care plans.

Following these introductory topics, the unit will concentrate on six main areas: depression, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and dementia.

The unit will conclude by exploring the role of mental health pharmacists in more specialist settings using journal articles and where possible short videos of advanced practitioners in these fields. Specialist settings may include substance misuse, A&E liaison, mother and baby units, learning disabilities and adolescent care.

Students will develop skills in providing advice to people with mental illness and be able to utilise information from a variety of sources in order to optimise patients’ care.

The unit will combine e-lectures, reading, case studies using Articulate, online discussion forums, online Webinars, short videos and practical work-based tasks to develop these knowledge and skills, which will be assessed using a patient profile and a detailed case analysis with associated oral presentation.

Students will also be required to submit a pharmaceutical care plan for formative feedback.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Medicines Optimisation & Therapeutics 1 PHAR60411 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Foundations of Clinical Pharmacy PHAR63001 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Medicines Optimisation and Therapeutics 2 PHAR63012 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


  • Develop students' knowledge of commonly encountered mental illnesses, including their epidemiology, presentation and management.
  • Develop knowledge and skills in the practice of pharmaceutical care to patients with mental illnesses.
  • Improve students’ mental health clinical practice with regard to holistic approaches to improve communication, optimise therapy and improve outcomes in collaboration with patients and other healthcare professionals. 


Teaching and learning methods

This course unit is delivered online using Blackboard 10.

All learning material is presented in week by week folders organised by therapeutic topic to help students manage their time.

Each week will contain four main elements:

- Background self-directed study (reading),

- Learning in the form of e-lectures accompanied (where relevant) by an embedded short practitioner/patient video(s) and/or short online quizzes or other tasks,

- A clinical case study to consolidate learning (constructed using Articulatesuitable tool, e.g. SoftChalk), and

- Time to complete mental health care plans - a total of 3 pharmaceutical care plans are to be submitted, 1 of which is not marked (this is used instead for formative feedback early in the unit) and 1 of which is submitted in the form of a detailed case analysis.

The students will be encouraged to participate in three online discussion webinars for the clinical topics, where the module structure, associated clinical case studies, reading and e-Lecture materials are discussed. There will also be online discussion forums provided for the other clinical topics covered in the module.


Knowledge and understanding

  • Describe the epidemiology, presentation, diagnosis and management of at least five mental health illnesses.
  • List the main classes of medicines used in the management of commonly encountered mental illnesses and explain how and when they should be used.
  • Describe the non-pharmacological approaches used in the management of mental illness.
  • Evaluate the role, risk profile and effective management in practice of the high-risk mental health medicines lithium and clozapine.
  • Discuss the key role the pharmacy team has in supporting people with adherence and helping them to make decisions about their medicines to improve their outcomes.
  • Discuss interface issues that occur when people with mental illness move between secondary and primary care. 

Intellectual skills

  • Integrate research findings on disease management in mental health with patient specific information to apply the best evidence to individual patients.
  • Critically analyse and evaluate clinical literature in therapeutics relevant to mental health.

Practical skills

  • Access and effectively use the relevant National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and, where appropriate, the British Association of Psychopharmacology (BAP) and Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines resources to recommend the optimal clinical management of a patient with mental illnesses.
  • Explore new ways to improve outcomes for people with mental illness using a holistic and person-centred approach.
  • Carry out constructive peer review.
  • Demonstrate consultation skills for people with mental health conditions.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Evaluate their own academic and personal progression.
  • Manage effective team working by participating in online discussion forums and webinars.
  • Identify and use approaches to improve communication with people with mental health illness.
  • Learn effectively for the purpose of continuing professional development and in a wider context throughout their career including identifying competency against a professional competency framework.

Assessment methods

Assessment task


How and when feedback is provided

Weighting within unit (if relevant)


1 mental health pharmaceutical care plan for formative feedback

Case dependent (suggested 500 words)

Individualised written formative feedback within Blackboard


(must be submitted to pass)

1 mental health pharmaceutical care plan

(must be based on different patients and focus on different mental health disorders, but one can be the same as disorder used in formative feedback profile)


Case dependent

Feedback methods

Provisional marks and feedback for coursework returned within 15 working days.

Exam marks and final marks returned after ratification at exam board. 

Recommended reading

There are no set texts for this course unit. Students will be directed to appropriate web-based resources in each of the study weeks using web-links (Link to Lists).

The recommended mental health reference sources are:

Bazire S. Psychotropic Drug Directory 2018. Lloyd-Reinhold Communications, Cheltenham.

Taylor D, Paton C, Kapur S. The Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines in Psychiatry, 13th Ed. Wiley Blackwell, Chichester.

Consultation Skills for Pharmacy Practice

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
eAssessment 4
Lectures 12
Seminars 5
Tutorials 2
Independent study hours
Independent study 127

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Richard Keers Unit coordinator

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