By Claire Thayer, May 10, 2016
Walgreens and Mental Health America have forged an ambitious initiative to screen 3 million people for mental issue, by the end of 2017. Walgreens is well positioned to step up to expand mental health services and treatment options and has announced it will offer access to 1,000 therapists and psychiatrists via MDLive’s subsidiary, Breakthrough.
Walgreens new dedicated mental health “answer center” is designed to help connect people to Mental Health American’s Online Screening Program— free, scientifically-based online screenings for a number of conditions including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD and others.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that getting access to services for treatment of mental health illness continues to be a concern:
- Approximately 60 percent of adults, and almost 50% of youth ages 8 to 15 with a mental illness received no mental health services in the previous year.
- African American and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about one-half the rate of whites in the past year and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.
- One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; three-quarters by age 24.
- Despite effective treatment, there are long delays−sometimes decades−between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.