Walmart health clinic for mental health are opened inside Walmart in Texas. Other medical services are available at Walmart, such as eye exams. But is the retail arrangement suitable for mental health care?
You can go to Walmart to buy toothpaste and shampoo, order glasses or fulfill prescription drugs. Now, some customers can also get therapy.
A new outpatient walmart health clinic for mental health has been opened at a Walmart store in Carrollton, Texas, north of Dallas. People can enter, call, or make online appointments to see licensed mental health professionals about problems such as anxiety, depression, sadness, relationship problems or the stresses of everyday life.
Beacon Health Options, a behavioral health services company based in Boston, is renting space in stores and running clinics. This is the first practice Beacon has opened in retail settings, the company announced in a news release this week, noting locations were chosen for convenience. More than 10 million Texans live in areas deemed to have a shortage of mental health care professionals, the company added.
Executives say the aim is to offer mental health services to people in rural communities who might not get treatment.
Large depression is on the rise among Americans, especially young adults, the latest research shows. It is estimated that one in five adults in the US experiences some form of mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Many people don’t get treatment.
According to Russell Petrella, president and CEO of Beacon Health Options, it’s time for behavioral health services, the time has come. It needs to be pulled out of the shadows. This needs to be used as a mainstream.
“Once available in a setting like this provides an opportunity for people to reach out and get treatment in a comfortable place.”
The organizer said the doctor at the place would make an assessment, determine what services a person might need and develop a treatment plan. If a patient cannot go to the clinic, Beacon offers a Skype session. Providers at company stores do not write recipes so if medication is needed, they can refer patients to psychiatrists.
This Walmart health clinic is not for people with serious mental health problems, but those who are still functioning properly and need help with general problems, said Petrella. Speech therapy can be offered on the site.
The initial assessment costs $140, and then $110 per individual session. Beacon offers a sliding fee scale for people who do not have health insurance or cannot afford to pay.
The company said it had seen interest from more than 500 people since the exercise was opened.
The question is: Will they get appropriate assistance?
Walmart declined to comment, although a spokesman told the new walmart health clinic for mental healthcare TODAY was the Beacon Health Options initiative. Other medical services are available at Walmart, such as eye exams. Some stores even have dental clinics.
But some critics question whether this particular approach is the way to go.
“Certainly the opportunity to provide such care in Walmart is not a bad thing – I am all to destroy the stigma of mental health,” said Ian Lang, executive director of the Brookline Center for Community Mental Health in Brookline, Massachusetts. https://bit.ly/2GL2M8y