Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there were countless people across the country who, for various reasons, were not able to get the mental health care they needed. After more than a year of financial, physical, psychological and emotional distress, increasing numbers of people have found themselves in a position where they are actively seeking some form of mental health therapy or counseling.
Specifically, the number of people dealing with symptoms of depression or anxiety has tripled or quadrupled since the start of the pandemic, according to research from Kaiser Family Foundation. While more people are aware that they can benefit from therapy, it is generally a step in the right direction, but it has unfortunately become more of a challenge to find a therapist – let alone one that is affordable.
But we are beginning to see this shift where mental health support is slowly becoming more available to some. E.g, CVS pharmacy now offers mental health counseling in some of its stores. Here’s what to know about the program and how to take advantage of it.
How to get mental health counseling at CVS
The national pharmacy chain began its mental health pilot program in January 2021 in a dozen stores in Houston, Philadelphia and Tampa with plans to continue rolling it across the country, NPR reports.
Walmart started a similar program back in 2018 and now has 20 locations with mental health clinics across the country. At this time, psychiatric services are only available at CVS pharmacies in Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas, but the program continues to expand.
It is also still unclear exactly how much CVS consulting will cost, except for those with Aetna Insurance (which is owned by CVS) who receive the service at no cost. And, NPR reports, CVS has negotiated agreements with other insurance companies to reduce the cost of therapy. It is still unclear how much a session will cost them without health insurance.