LONDON, ONT. -- Pharmacist Nick Vander Gulik says it’s been a busy several months.

"It’s been a lot of long days and a lot of long nights and we even did have to add on additional staff."

Vander Gulik, who owns and operates the Shoppers Drug Mart on Richmond Street in downtown London, says since the pandemic hit, pharmacies like his have had people coming in for health care who are trying to avoid the emergency department.

"We were doing lots of thing like triaging, like do you need to go to [emergency]? Do you need to seek out care? And we were referring people on, but also managing self-care in the store, so this is how you can manage that until you’re able to do that."

Along with already doing vaccinations, the pharmacy also took on patient injections such as B-12 injections, for example.

Vander Gulik says there has also been an increase in people turning to the pharmacist for mental health care assistance.

"Shoppers Drug Mart has done a survey and during this pandemic 65 per cent of Canadians reported they felt an increase level of stress and anxiety," says Vander Gulik.

Online programs have been put in place by the company to help navigate mental health resources.

Meanwhile the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) says it has also seen an increase in the number of people reaching out for help.

"Probably within the first six weeks of the pandemic we probably saw an increase in call volume about 50 per cent higher than what we would normally be seeing," says David Small from the CMHA Middlesex.

Small says there are lot of available resources through the CMHA for those who need it.

"Whatever the format and however you feel you need to get support, do not wait. Also too, don’t forget about your family doctor, a lot of them are very skilled and able to help with ongoing mental health issues and may suggest some other avenues of support as well."

Vander Gulik adds whether it be a mental health concern or any other health condition, the teamwork amongst medical professionals across the city shows how people have come together during this trying time.