An old school brick and mortar business is launching a high-tech partnership to help people better deal with mental health challenges.
To improve mental health treatment, Walgreens will offer access to 1,000 therapists and psychiatrists via Breakthrough, an MDLive telemedicine company . Walgreens 18 months ago began a relationship with MDLive, a telemedicine company, to provide customers with around-the-clock access to physicians.
In addition, Walgreens is working with Mental Health America, a nonprofit that will help the drugstore giant connect its customers to free community-based screenings for mental health conditions that include depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders.
According to a news release on the non-profit Mental Health America (MHA) website, “Walgreens and MHA together have set a goal to complete 3 million online screenings by the end of 2017. MHA believes that taking a screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition.”
Breakthrough lets users search for a mental health professional, and in states where it is legal to do so, attain counseling services from them online, from the comfort of their own homes and typically at a cost that is lower than seeing a therapist in person.
Dr. Harry Leider, Chief Medical Officer and Group Vice President for Walgreens, said, “For a certain segment of the population, telemedicine can provide a preferred experience than in person. It’s more convenient, you don’t have to drive somewhere and sit in someone’s office, and for some people doing counseling via phone call, video or what have you, brings partial anonymity and it is more comfortable for them.”
Roughly one-in-five American adults are dealing with some type of mental health issue, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That is more than 43 million people.
Some of you may think this is a clever marketing strategy since diagnosing more mental illnesses could lead to more prescriptions being filled through Walgreens pharmacies. Others, may see this as an innovative solution to the growing challenges of mental illness. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this partnership and whether you think it can make a difference for people dealing with mental health challenges. After all, finding new ways to deal with old problems is key to helping us one day reach our goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!