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NOTEBOOK – ONE GOOD READ: CVS finding success in mental health counseling pilot program


With more people seeking mental health services because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some pharmacy chains and retailers are hoping to tap into that market by betting that people will be comfortable getting counseling at the same place they pick up their prescriptions, toothpaste and snacks. According to this story in the Wall Street Journal, CVS is joining Walgreens and Walmart in offering in-person counseling at or near their stores. CVS started stationing mental health providers, generally a licensed clinical social worker, at 13 locations in Houston, Philadelphia and Tampa, Fla., as a pilot program. They say they saw a surprisingly high return for customers who had initial consultations, and the company is now looking to expand the service to 34 locations in those areas. Ken Duckworth, medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said it’s a creative way to meet a growing need, but some health care providers question how many people are comfortable seeking therapy in a public setting. CVS says customers have no way of knowing a person is receiving therapy because the stores already offer a variety of services. Mental health services are advertised in the stores, where a designated area has a private room for counseling services.

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