DEERFIELD, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As part of Walgreens’ commitment to the health and wellbeing of the communities it serves, as well as to fostering a healthy and inclusive workplace, the company is expanding its efforts to meet the growing need for access to mental health resources. The announcement comes in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month, which runs throughout May in the U.S.
As the prevalence of mental health conditions has continued to grow exponentially over the past several years, the population that has been most impacted is our next generation – youth and adolescents. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates almost 50% of adolescents have had a mental health disorder at some point in their lives1, and just last year alone, nearly 40% of those who took an online mental health screening in 2022 were under age 182.
Walgreens and Mental Health America Expand Partnership with Youth Initiative
To help bring much-needed screening tools and other educational materials to more schools nationwide, Walgreens is collaborating with longtime partner Mental Health America (MHA) on its Back-to-School campaign, which will include a comprehensive set of new resources that will be available at no cost this coming August. Last year, the campaign reached more than 15 million people.
“We’re proud to work with MHA to support this critically important work for the staggering numbers of teens and adolescents who are struggling, and for the teachers and administrators who play such a vital role during these pivotal years,” said Holly May, global chief human resources officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance. “As an employer, we’re committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of our team members. And as part of our purpose, more joyful lives through better health, we’re also focused on addressing the most pressing needs in healthcare and our communities today.”
The Back-to-School campaign will include materials for students, parents, caregivers and school personnel. To further expand its reach, Walgreens will leverage a network of more than 800 schools it works with as part of the Walgreens Expressions Challenge, a platform to educate, empower and equip young people and their community with insights and resources on issues impacting teens.
“Our nation’s youth are in crisis. At Mental Health America, we work to elevate their voices and to provide them with reliable information and resources to support their mental wellbeing as they navigate an increasingly volatile world,” said Schroeder Stribling, president and CEO of MHA. “Our Back-to-School campaign speaks directly to students who may be struggling or want to learn how to have a mentally healthy school year. It also educates adults on starting tough conversations, where to turn to get help and how to recognize when a child needs compassionate intervention. We thank Walgreens for continuing to support our mission to increase messages of hope and healing to a broader audience.”
Last Fall, Walgreens also partnered with MHA on the development of its first-ever Workplace Mental Health toolkit.
Improving Workplace Mental Health and Fostering a Culture of Wellbeing
Walgreens continues to build on its commitment to workplace mental health and is proud to be recognized for its programs and benefits for team members across its corporate offices, distribution centers and nearly 9,000 retail locations across the U.S. The company recently received MHA’s Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health, a national program which recognizes exemplary employers for their commitment to creating mentally healthy workplaces.
Walgreens is also expanding its Be Well Connected mental health and wellbeing program, which launched last May and was developed to support “whole person” health for employees and their family members. It includes a range of free services and resources available through the company’s employee assistance program and other platforms.
To date, nearly 60% of Walgreens’ approximately 240,000 team members have downloaded or engaged with the Journey LIVE health and wellness app, one of the new offerings made available through the program, and more than 80% of these team members are active users on the platform today. Walgreens and Journey have also partnered to further expand the content, last month launching a wellness series tailored for pharmacists, as well as a new series for caregivers of children with special needs.
“We’re continually listening to our team members to understand how we can best support their health and wellbeing, and strive to create an environment where they feel supported, respected and celebrated for being their authentic selves,” May added.
Walgreens Pharmacists Playing an Important Role in Improving Health Equity and Access
In 2019, Walgreens spearheaded efforts to provide mental health first-aid training for certain team members within human resources, as well as a specialized training that is now available for all of the company’s approximately 25,000 pharmacists.
Walgreens pharmacists are also playing a focused role through a pilot program aimed at improving health equity in underserved communities. As part of the program, pharmacists are helping to support patients new to medication therapies for a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and others, with a series of check-ins aimed at improving outcomes by ensuring patients remain adherent to medications and aren’t experiencing any problems or side effects.
1 NIMH » Mental Illness (nih.gov)
2 Mental Health America online screening https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools/
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) is included in the U.S. Retail Pharmacy and U.S. Healthcare segments of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), an integrated healthcare, pharmacy and retail leader with a 170-year heritage of caring for communities. WBA’s purpose is to create more joyful lives through better health. Operating nearly 9,000 retail locations across America, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Walgreens is proud to be a neighborhood health destination serving nearly 10 million customers each day. Walgreens pharmacists play a critical role in the U.S. healthcare system by providing a wide range of pharmacy and healthcare services, including those that drive equitable access to care for the nation’s medically underserved populations. To best meet the needs of customers and patients, Walgreens offers a true omnichannel experience, with fully integrated physical and digital platforms supported by the latest technology to deliver high-quality products and services in communities nationwide.
About Mental Health America
Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all. MHA’s work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need them; with recovery as the goal. Learn more at MHAnational.org.