Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there were countless people across the country who, for a variety of reasons, weren’t able to get the mental health help they needed. Now, after more than a year of economic, physical, psychological and emotional hardship, increasing numbers of people have found themselves in a position where they are actively seeking out some type of mental health therapy or counseling.
Specifically, the 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 the Kaiser Family Foundation. While having more people realize that they could benefit from therapy is, overall, a step in the right direction, unfortunately, finding a therapist—let alone one that’s affordable—has become even more of a challenge.
But we’re starting to see that shift, with mental health support slowly becoming more accessible to some. For example, CVS Pharmacy is now offering mental health counseling in some of its retail 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 to roll it out across the country throughout the year, NPR reports.
Walmart began a similar program back in 2018 and now has 20 locations with mental health clinics throughout the country. At this point, the mental health services are only available in CVS pharmacies in Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas, but the program will continue to expand.
It’s also still unclear exactly how much the CVS counseling will cost, except for those with Aetna insurance (which is owned by CVS) who will receive the service at no cost. And, NPR reports, CVS has negotiated deals with other insurance companies to reduce the cost of therapy. It’s still unclear how much a session will cost for those without health insurance.