- To improve mental health outcomes, Walgreens is launching a new platform that expands access to behavioral health treatments.
- Mental Health Answers includes informational resources, screenings, and a behavioral telehealth option.
- Walgreens announced the initiative in conjunction with Mental Health Month. Each year, roughly one in five Americans suffer from a mental health issue.
The launch comes as more people are seeking convenient alternatives to traditional doctor office visits and as barriers to mental health treatment, including the fear or shame of needing such services, continue to leave many patients without needed help.
Telehealth visits will be provided by more than 1,000 state-licensed psychiatrists and therapists affiliated with Breakthrough, an MDLive company. Patients will be able to seek help for addiction, depression, stress, PTSD and other concerns, Walgreens said.
The Deerfield, IL-based chain is also offering 27,000 pharmacists and 1,100-plus Walgreens clinic providers continuing education and training in mental health disorders.
And the training is needed. As Forbes' Bruce Japsen notes, less than half of Americans with prescriptions for mental health conditions adhere to them.
“Pharmacies have always been oriented around supporting patients who are on medications for mental health conditions, but we are providing even more training around medication issues,” Harry Leider, Walgreens CMO, told Forbes.
The initiative, a collaboration with Mental Health America, complements existing services Walgreens offers, including pharmacist phone calls to patients who are starting targeted therapies, a 24/7 online pharmacy chat, and depression screenings for select disease states.
The company has set a goal of 3 million online screenings by the end of 2017.