BACKGROUND Mental illness is common among the New Zealand population. Several roles have been identified for community pharmacists in providing care to people with mental illness; however, the specifics of these roles have not been studied in New Zealand. OBJECTIVES To explore the services currently provided by community pharmacists, the barriers that may be encountered, and possible solutions when providing care to people with mental illness. METHODS Community pharmacists across the North Island of New Zealand, who expressed a special interest in mental health or had a clozapine-dispensing contract, were invited to participate. Eleven participants were interviewed using a semistructured format guided by principles of inductive analysis. Using a thematic approach, transcripts from the interviews were analyzed with the assistance of NVivo 7® (QSR International Pty Ltd 2007). RESULTS Four major themes were identified: provision of care, relationships, challenges within the health care system and resources, and future roles for pharmacists. Provision of care was associated with the type of services pharmacists provided, patient-focused care, family involvement, education, psychological support, referrals, and culturally appropriate practice. Building effective relationships was described by participants as adopting a nonjudgmental and culturally sensitive manner, respecting patient privacy, spending more time with patients, and using varied communication techniques. Significant challenges involved working at the end of the health care chain, inadequate patient information and contact time, prescription and payment issues, and difficulties ensuring compliance with medication. Participants identified education, support, and funding as resources that needed to be improved. Their perspectives about future roles of the pharmacists included providing more education and acting as medicine managers for patients. CONCLUSIONS Pharmacists provided a variety of services to people with mental illness despite the barriers they encountered. If the roles of community pharmacists within mental health were to be expanded, solutions to these barriers would need to be identified and implemented.