Retail Mental Health: A Secret Weapon Our Health System Needs?

Most people make a conscious effort to ensure that they optimize their physical wellbeing. But all too often, they overlook the importance of their mental health, too.

And that doesn’t mean patients are to blame for their lack of care. If you’re suffering from a broken arm or visible injury, you can stroll into your nearest hospital to receive immediate attention. But when your mind’s unhealthy or you start to feel mentally worn down, enjoying quick support isn’t quite as easy.

The unfortunate reality is that those who visit hospitals for mental illnesses may be discharged or referred to an outpatient facility because their symptoms aren’t deemed severe enough for admission.

But in much the same way that you’d feel robbed for being discharged from a hospital with a broken injury that wasn’t fixed or trauma that wasn’t fully cared for, what’re you supposed to do when you still feel gloomy, anxious or even suicidal but aren’t quite sure where to turn?

Retail mental health clinics may just be the new answer.

What Is a Retail Mental Health Clinic?

Let’s start off by discussing what a clinic is and how these facilities functions to provide you with care.

A clinic is one of the many forms of hospitals available to patients where the workers’ primary objectives are to offer a space for recovery, treatment and support. If you have any local healthcare clinics in your city, you know that these facilities are ideally suited for immediate access to care. While treatment in these spaces is often limited to physical injuries, some are changing to incorporate mental health care into their treatment options, too.

The unfortunate reality is that those who visit hospitals for mental illnesses may be discharged or referred to an outpatient facility because their symptoms aren't deemed severe enough for admission.
Kate Harveston, IVN Independent Author

Retail clinics will also provide quick and easy access to patients when they need it most. Rather than waiting several weeks for follow-up care, patients who visit a retail mental health clinic will receive regular access to physicians and programs crafted to address such issues as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and more.

How Retails Mental Health Spaces Benefits Greater Patients

There are several flaws in the country’s current mental health care system that may find improvement within a retail-based facility. Below, we’ll discuss some of the possible perks of retail mental health facilities starting to spring up.

1. Accessibility

In the U.S., there are over 5,000 hospitals in operation willing to accept and admit new patients. While this figure may seem like you have access to your fair share of options, it’s important to note that not all are not equipped with the tools necessary to provide psychiatric help on-site.

For specific regions of the country, having too many patients — and too few doctors to treat their needs — is precisely the issue. When the Affordable Care Act passed, more Americans found themselves finally able to afford mental health care. However, many are apt to find themselves at the bottom of a long waiting list with no real access to immediate attention.

One of the biggest perks of retail mental health clinics would be greater accessibility to trained professionals whenever necessary. As more big chains decide to jump on board with plans to open their own facilities, patients will have access to even more resources and psychiatrists in their area.

2. Affordability

Although therapy costs are wide-ranging, you can generally expect to shell out upwards of $300 per therapy session. For those without full healthcare coverage, this cost may deter them from seeking the help they know they deserve.

In much the same way that Urgent Care services are cheaper than a hospital visit, a mental health clinic center may potentially save you hundreds of dollars, too. For the 14.7 percent of Americans — or roughly 6.3 million individuals — without insurance, a more affordable mental treatment option may give them the push they need to seek care.

After subtracting the cost of deductibles and co-payments, patients will likely pay considerably lower out of pocket costs. When patients know that mental health care is more affordable, they may be more willing to invest in a long-term treatment plan, too.

3. On-the-Spot Care

Get the support you need when you need it most. For those who have an addiction provoked by mental health issues, immediate care may mean a world of difference between relapsing and developing a treatment plan that’ll craft their road to recovery. For others with anxiety or depression, quicker access to mental health-based facilities may be just as vital, too.

Unfortunately, many patients are all too familiar with the reality of long wait times in between their care. Rather than waiting until your mental health is so bad that it provokes a hospital visit, retail health clinics will be available with their doors open — seeing you when you need immediate treatment.

Continual Support — the Key to Mental Health Treatment

Mental illness won’t cure itself overnight. In much the same way that an injury or physical health problem may require medication, support and continual care, mental illness should be treated in the same way.

But far too often, people neglect to receive the mental health care they need. While many may claim that the high costs of therapy deter them from scheduling regular appointments with their therapists and others will say that the sheer lack of available options keeps them from seeing doctors regularly, issues begin to arise for almost all patients who neglect to nurture their feelings and mind as often as they should.

While issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD may be serious conditions that warrant just as much care and attention as a physical illness, they’re also preventable and manageable, too. As more retail health clinics open their doors to the public, the country may be able to better provide for its people with the health reform and proactive care they deserve.

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