CVS Pharmacy in the US is running a pilot program in which it offers counseling in some of its retail stores in Houston, Philadelphia and Tampa. The chain plans to expand from 10 to 34 stores participating in the pilot by the end of the year. The company is targeting diverse communities where mental health care isn’t readily available. The pandemic has tripled or quadrupled the number of people struggling with symptoms of depression or anxiety, and the sheer volume of this problem is forcing insurers to recognize the unmet needs of patients. CVS, which bought the health insurance company Aetna in 2018, is hoping that, by treating mental health issues, patients’ physical health will improve and it will realize cost savings. Data from studies supports this connection between addressing mental health and improving physical health.

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