NATIONAL (NBC/KAIT) - It’s a concept that gives new meaning to “retail therapy.”
Beacon Health Options, a Boston-based company, is trying to deliver mental health care to under-served communities by leasing space for their clinics in stores, including Walmart.
The first clinic location is inside a Walmart in Carrollton, Texas. Customers can walk in, call or make an appointment online to see a licensed mental health professional. They can make appointments for a variety of issues like anxiety, depression, or the stresses of everyday living. B
“We think having it available in a setting like this provides opportunities for people to reach out and get care in a comfortable place,” said Russell Petrella, president and CEO of Beacon Health Options.
Petrella said their goal is to offer services to people in rural communities who might otherwise not get care.
Service providers don’t write prescriptions on-site; however, they do offer full therapy sessions in the clinic.
It costs $140 for the first assessment and $110 for each session after that. They also offer a sliding fee scale for people without insurance.
Critics say these clinics are just a band-aid for a much larger problem.
“Adding a single provider in Texas is going to do nothing to address the larger issue of lack of access,” said Ian Lang, executive director at the Brookline Center for Community Mental Health.
Beacon Health Options officials said they hope to expand to other locations, but they have not decided where.
A Walmart spokesperson said that even though the new mental health clinic is located in their store it is strictly run by a separate health care company.