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Mental Health Clinic Opens in Texas Walmart to Meet the Demand for Accessible Care

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It’s commonplace to see hair salons, restaurants, banks, pharmacies and even optometry offices set up shop in Walmarts around the U.S. Now, one Walmart in Carrollton, Texas, will house a mental health clinic as well.

The clinic opened Wednesday and is the first from Beacon Care Services, which will provide outpatient mental health care in various locations like retail stores. It hopes to provide convenience and accessibility to more people who need care, according to its site.

Beacon Care Services is a part of Beacon Health Options, a Boston-based behavioral health services company, and plans to expand the initiative to more locations across the country. The company said the practices will help address the shortage of mental health care providers nationwide.

There is a growing demand for mental health care, but the number of mental health professionals is not growing enough to meet that demand. This leads to issues such as long wait times to see a professional and the inaccessibility of mental health professionals for those who live in rural areas.

Each location will have at least one clinician who will address “every individual’s unique needs, including common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and stress, grief and relationship issues.”

Beacon Health Options President Russell Petrella, Ph.D., said they chose Walmart as its first location because it’s a “local neighborhood location that is close by and easy to get to” and can also accommodate evening appointments.

The Texas location was chosen because the state has a large shortage of mental health care professionals, especially in rural areas. According to Beacon Health Options, only 35 percent of the state’s mental health needs are met. While the clinic in this Walmart opened Wednesday, the company is already searching for other locations in the country to start more practices.

Originally published: November 30, 2018
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