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CVS Launches Mental Health Counseling to Provide Convenient Access to Care

As COVID-19 cases soared across the U.S., so too have the rates of mental health issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and surveys conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, reported symptoms of anxiety and depression were three and four times higher in 2020, respectively, than the same time in 2019. Additional resources for mental health care are needed, and CVS has launched a new initiative at MinuteClinic, that can help.

Figuring out where to start when you need mental health care can be a major challenge. Do you need to see a psychiatrist or a therapist? What’s the difference between a social worker and counselor? Do I really need medication? Where do you even start? CVS noticed this too, which is one of the reasons the company wanted to offer Mental Health Counseling at MinuteClinic. The new service plans to bring convenient access to mental health services right to your community. 

“CVS Health is expanding our capabilities to support behavioral health, making services easy to access and afford, which is more important than ever as Americans continue to manage the pandemic,” Jeff Cook, vice president of transformation for CVS, told The Mighty. “When individuals take care of their emotional well-being, they often see positive results in other aspects of health as well.”

Here’s how the mental health services plan to work at MinuteClinic. At your first appointment, you’ll have an assessment with a trained counselor. They’ll ask questions about how you’re feeling, screen for certain mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, and learn a little more about what you’re going through. From there, you’ll work together to determine the best course of action. 

The initial assessment is not designed to replace other types of mental health care. After the first appointment, you may be scheduled for a follow-up with a MinuteClinic licensed therapist either inside your local MinuteClinic at CVS HealthHUB or via Telehealth, if you need immediate support. If you need a higher level of care or long-term treatment, your licensed therapist can connect you with additional services that may better support your mental health. 

The ultimate goal of MinuteClinic mental health services is to help bridge gaps in mental health care. The company wants to give people an easy point of access To help navigate the system and better address each person’s holistic well-being. 

“The current journey to receiving mental health services is associated with some significant barriers,” said Angela Patterson, DNP, FNP-BC, NEA-BC, FAANP, chief nurse practitioner officer of MinuteClinic and vice president, CVS Health. “Our providers are able to help the patient navigate the system, understand their options and provide affordable options.”

Similar to other MinuteClinic services, mental health services are available through walk-ins or you can schedule an appointment in-person or virtually. You can pay for services using health insurance or employee assistance program benefits as well as cash or credit card, all at an affordable rate. MinuteClinic follows strict privacy laws and guidelines to ensure your information is kept secure and confidential. 

MinuteClinic mental health counseling is currently available at select CVS HealthHUB locations in the Houston, Texas, area and will expand to Tampa, Florida, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the southern New Jersey area in the coming weeks. Click here for additional details

Taking that first step to ask for help when you’re struggling can be the most difficult, and we want to help make sure you’re not doing it alone,” said Cara McNulty, DPA, President, Aetna Behavioral Health. “Just like you go to CVS for a flu shot (or the COVID-19 vaccine), now you’ll be able to walk in the door, in select locations, and ask for a mental health screening too, which increases access to care.

“We aim to provide our patients and the communities we serve with a convenient solution to accessing mental health services,” Patterson said of adding mental health services to the MinuteClinic care team. “We can help reduce many of the pain points along the mental health patient journey, help increase access and provide an enhanced patient experience.” 

Disclaimer: Services vary by location. See store for details. Mental Health Services provided by a MinuteClinic Licensed Therapist worker within a CVS HealthHUB.