Our commitment to mental wellbeing

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The mental health system can be complicated, unfamiliar, and hard to navigate for most people. The stigma attached to mental illness and addiction prevents people from seeking treatment, and for those who do seek help, it can be hard to find quality care in a timely manner.

CVS Health proactively supports individuals across the mental wellbeing continuum, building mental health resilience among those who are currently healthy, providing emotional wellbeing and social determinant support for those who are stressed or struggling, and robust clinical support and case management for individuals with a mental illness — and everything in between.


Working in our communities, and in partnership with providers and employers, CVS Health holistically addresses physical and mental health to improve overall health.

Engagement across the care continuum

We have developed a variety of access points — CVS Pharmacy®, Resources for Living (PDF), new technology and more — to improve mental wellbeing and health outcomes for members and families, their employers, and communities.

Flattening the second curve of COVID-19

As we combat the physical effects of COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are simultaneously confronted with deep feelings of stress, fear and anxiety. We are facing profound loss, economic uncertainty, social isolation, and worry for the health of those we love. This time of mental and emotional crisis is the ‘second curve’ of the pandemic, and we must work together to flatten this curve, too.

We’re proud to offer expanded mental wellbeing services and resources to support our most significantly impacted groups — frontline health care workers,  essential workers,  seniors, and furloughed and laid-off workers.

Learn more about resource we’re offering to help flatten the second curve.

Here 4 U

We understand life can feel overwhelming for young adults right now: COVID-19 has closed schools, isolated them from friends and family members and impacted their day-to-day lives in countless ways. That’s why we’ve launched the Here 4 U program as part of our Time For Care initiative to provide much needed mental health resources and education to young adults as well as other groups in need of special attention in the wake of the pandemic.

Reducing the number of suicides

Part of CVS Health’s commitment to helping people on their path to better health is a focus on reversing the devastating suicide trends in the United States. With the right intervention and support, suicide is known to be preventable. We offer resources to support a variety of groups — young adults and college students, attempt survivors, Aetna members and CVS Health colleagues.

Learn more about the suicide prevention resources we offer.

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Resources

Resources for Living (RFL) offers a variety of well-being services and support options for everyone–even for those not on an Aetna insurance plan. Individuals can call our Resources for Living (RFL) line at 1-833-327-AETNA (1-833-327-2386) for in-the-moment phone support.

Emotional well-being resources to support you and your loved ones. These include tools to manage stress and anxiety, support parents and children, and care for your own mental health.

Learn about your emotional health and take needed action. Take a simple depression check or take a simple anxiety check.

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Health care, from the heart

Health care, from the heart
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Our health care system is under unprecedented strain.

Through it all, CVS Health has been there.

We’re nearly 300,000 employees ensuring millions of Americans can access health care services.

We’ve opened 4,700 COVID-19 test sites since March and administered over 10 million tests at our stores and through partners in underserved communities.

With millions staying home, CVS Health is increasing access to prescription delivery, virtual visits and mental health services.

Now, we’re providing vaccines in long-term care facilities nationwide.

We’ve been on the frontlines, making health care easier to access and afford.

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Heart At Work: Bob Atighechi brings hope to nursing homes

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It’s mid-morning, December 18, and a crowd of national press – CNN, NBC, Associated Press, to name a few – are gathered outside the Reservoir Skilled Nursing facility in West Hartford, Connecticut. Governor Ned Lamont, the last of the dignitaries to speak, steps to the podium.
   
Bob Atighechi is there too. Bob is one of a team of CVS pharmacists who will provide among the first COVID-19 vaccinations in the country for residents and staff in long-term care facilities. It’s a new wave of hope for the nation, one that’s been missing since the pandemic began. 

“We’ve been waiting for this day. It’s history,” says Bob. “I’m so lucky to be part of it.” 

The speeches have concluded and Reservoir staff are lined up outside for their first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination. Their second shot will be administered in three weeks. 

Inside, where it’s sheltered and warm, Jeanne Peters, 95, is the first resident to be inoculated, with Bob’s assistance. “It was no problem,” says Jeanne, brushing off confetti that commemorated the event. “I think everyone who can, should get a shot against the virus – no matter what age.” 

Pharmacists Bob Atighechi and MaryLou Galushko providing a COVID-19 vaccination to Reservoir resident Jeanne Peters December 18, 2020
Pharmacists Bob Atighechi and MaryLou Galushko provide a COVID-19 vaccination to Reservoir resident Jeanne Peters December 18, 2020

Fast forward a few weeks later. Despite the holidays Bob has worked nearly every day, generally starting around 8:00 a.m. and returning home at 7:30 p.m. “We provide about 130 vaccinations daily in nursing homes throughout central Connecticut. They’re relieved and appreciative,” he explains. 

“I have to admit that the idea of receiving a new vaccination was a little bit unnerving despite the amount of education,” explains Amy Peruti, Director of Nursing at Hughes Health & Rehabilitation in West Hartford. “Bob’s confidence and friendliness were a calming force and truly set the stage for a great clinic day.”

Pharmacists Bob Atighechi and MaryLou Galushko applauding Reservoir resident Margaret Dubois who is receiving a COVID-19 vaccination
Pharmacists Bob Atighechi and MaryLou Galushko applaud Reservoir resident Margaret Dubois who received a COVID-19 vaccination December 18, 2020

In the weeks ahead, CVS Health expects to vaccinate up to four million residents and staff at over 40,000 long-term care facilities across the country.
 
But Bob, who has been with the company 14 years, worries. He knows firsthand the exacting toll Coronavirus has already taken on this vulnerable population. In one facility it was whispered that 60 of the 200 residents died from the disease – grandmothers, grandfathers, sisters, brothers – people who were loved. Less talked about, he says, is the fear and stress that have forced staff to retire early – leaving resident care in some locations to just a handful. 

But, what nags him most is the hesitancy. “Only 60 or 70% of the population we see are taking advantage of vaccinations. We need to reach everyone to be effective.” 

He hopes confidence will grow, making way for CVS Health to be able to quickly provide vaccinations to the general population. Among them, his elderly parents in California and eventually his teenagers.

When that day comes, Bob will be there, working to ensure people are safe. “I never dreamed I’d be part of something this important. It really is, you know.”

Thank you, Bob, for bringing your heart to work and offering hope to our loved ones in long-term care.

Heart At Work recognizes CVS Health heroes across the country who bring their hearts to work, helping people on their path to better health. Read their stories, watch their videos and celebrate our CVS Health Heart At Work heroes along with us!

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Talking prescription bottles can make life easier

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If you know someone who struggles to read a prescription label, Spoken Rx may be able to help. An innovative feature on the CVS Pharmacy app, Spoken Rx reads prescription information aloud in English or in Spanish, and is available free of charge to smartphone users. 

“CVS is always looking for new ways to innovate for our patients and we want to be on the front end of innovation,” explained Christy Letourneau, Director, Pharmacy Operations. “ Our patients have greater autonomy and are empowered to hear and listen to what the directions are for their medications which helps them take control of their healthcare.”

People who are blind or visually impaired, aging adults, individuals with dyslexia or other learning disabilities and non-English speakers especially benefit from this pharmacy innovation. “More than just a safety tool, Spoken Rx increases both self-reliance and quality of life,” said Kim Charlson, the past president of the American Council for the Blind (ACB). “I don’t have to wait to ask somebody who is sighted to help me figure out which prescription bottle is which. I can take care of it right away,” she says. 

A CVS Pharmacy customer in Amherst, MA commented, “Thank you for introducing the talking RX prescription reader. I have been waiting for this for years.”    

Joy Ross, a social media influencer and You Tuber who is blind, describes Spoken Rx as “an extremely brilliant idea for prescriptions. I’m glad a company is finally thinking about the visually impaired. I’m now a customer for life because of this one simple item/feature that will benefit many.”

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Have trouble reading your prescription labels? A Spoken Rx feature on your phone’s CVS Pharmacy app can read it to you!

Rollout Plan and How to Sign Up

With a launch that started this past summer, Spoken Rx is offered in 1,500 retail pharmacies and will be available in all retail locations by the end of 2021. Customers can request Spoken Rx by calling their local CVS Pharmacy to learn when the innovation will be available and registering over the phone. A pharmacist then encodes a smart RFID tag on a prescription label that can be scanned by the CVS Pharmacy app on both Apple and Android phones. CVS Pharmacy is also exploring options for a physical speaker for customers without a smartphone.  

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CVS Health supports better health through good nutrition

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CVS Health offers customized approach to boosting health with better food choices

A new nutrition-based CVS Health initiative aims to provide a new option for consumers who want to boost their overall health through better food choices. The Nutrition Coaching & Services program, which is being piloted in three Phoenix-area HealthHUB locations, provides a comprehensive approach to nutrition, focusing on therapeutic diet options tailored to personal tastes and specific chronic conditions.

“The vast majority of health issues we struggle with as a country are due to poor diet,” said Daniel Knecht, M.D., VP of Clinical Product. “So, CVS Health can play a significant part in helping people to manage chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes and heart disease by equipping them with the knowledge and ability to eat healthy and nutritious food daily.”

Poor nutrition and obesity can be the root cause of multiple chronic conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Obesity also is a risk factor that may contribute to increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity costs the U.S. health care system roughly $150 billion a year. Unfortunately, solving for metabolic health and obesity can be complicated. Currently, communities lack a singular resource that can provide tailored nutrition guidance that’s in line with personal health needs. That’s where CVS Health comes in, as it works to integrate nutrition support into many of its clinical services and resources.

In addition to providing access to nurse practitioners and pharmacists who can advise on baseline health and manage prescription medications, the Nutrition Coaching & Services program offers metabolic health blood tests, body composition measurement, and a digital app that includes remote monitoring, tracking and coaching, as well as educational content, meal plans and shopping lists. 

“What resonates with consumers is that good nutrition is a natural way to manage their chronic condition. It’s a much-less invasive approach than surgery and medicines,” said Cameron Smith, Sr. Director, Chronic Care. “Our vision is to ultimately create a capability and platform for nutrition services that can be leveraged across the Enterprise.”  

A focus on good nutrition can help people reduce weight, boost immunity, get better sleep and improve metabolic measures such as hypertension, blood sugar and inflammatory responses, according to Rich Wood, Ph.D., Nutritional Sciences, and Executive Advisor, Complex Chronic Care Transformation. Wood helped to design the program being piloted in Arizona.

“The majority of Americans are struggling with obesity, as well as heart health issues, so we know there’s a big need out there,” Wood noted, adding that consumers have indicated they want help co-managing their medications and nutrition. “CVS is already the #1 pharmacy in the country. We know people trust CVS in their lives.”

The Nutrition Coaching & Services program is offering a highly personalized approach, considering participants’ individual characteristics and desires, including metabolism, allergies, food preferences, lifestyle and body type. This input helps the team develop an individualized nutrition program that the participant can sustain.

“When you drill down to the current nutrition solutions in the market, they’re all similar. They are either Keto-based, plant-based, Mediterranean diet based... but we are taking a diet-agnostic approach,” Wood said. “We meet people where they are. That’s what personalization is all about.”

The program will enroll customers and engage them with a health coach. These coaches can develop a personalized nutrition plan and provide ongoing support for the customer, becoming a trusted advisor as patients progress.

Ultimately, health is not one-size-fits-all, and neither is nutrition. To improve the health care of the communities we serve, we must provide resources that allow people to receive customized nutrition advice. With the power of personalized nutrition, CVS Health can help members and customers on their path to better health. 

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2020: A year like no other

2020: A year like no other
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Danielle Taylor, a CVS Pharmacy District Leader in New Orleans told us, “2020 is one for the books!” In addition to battling with COVID-19, they’ve had an unforgiving run of hurricanes. Danielle has had quite the year herself, as both a daughter and a mother, navigating this pandemic up close and personal. We first met her and her team back in May.

As you’ll see, for this episode of Healthy Communities News, we’re bringing you updates from the inspiring stories we’ve covered over the past year — people rising to meet unprecedented challenges, together.

In this episode of the podcast (below), we’ll take you from Atlanta’s Westside, where its civil rights history still inspires today’s movements; to Boston, where a gutsy nonprofit that’s been using food as medicine for 30 years has reinvented itself in the face of the coronavirus. As well as Miami-Dade County where Branches is equipping students in new ways to keep learning. And downtown Houston, Texas, where the San José Clinic seems to have been preparing for a healthcare crisis just like the one we find ourselves in… since 1922.

Tune in and subscribe to our podcast

Listen to Healthy Communities News on the go using your favorite podcast platform.

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Celebrating our impact

Celebrating our impact
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As we reflect on 2020, we’re incredibly grateful for the contributions of our nearly 300,000 colleagues.

Whether they were in our stores, virtual offices or in the community, our colleagues rose to the challenge to support our customers and members when they needed us most.

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Fighting for a wounded warrior

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“I’m married to a wounded warrior. My husband Chris served in Iraq in 2007, 2009 and 2011. Then he went to Afghanistan in 2013 where he was exposed to incoming rocket blasts every day. When he came home from his last tour, everyone thought he was doing just fine. I was expecting our first child, we had our belated honeymoon at Disney World, and we were enjoying becoming a family.

Chris commuted to the base daily in what was then our only car. So, I stayed home while he worked. One afternoon, he called me and said he was thinking about crashing the car into an oncoming truck. And that he couldn’t manage things anymore. I had to stay on the line to talk him home hoping I didn’t hear a collision on the other end. When he got home, we turned around and headed back to base. At first, they wanted to put him on medication – in two weeks. I insisted we needed more urgent care, and we got it.

Chris is now out of the military and in counseling for PTSD and traumatic brain injury. It’s a daily struggle, and I will always worry for him because it’s hard to tell whether he may again think of harming himself.

I often think, what about all the soldiers who don’t have a Kim advocating for them? Well, my husband has lost approximately 30 of his military buddies to suicide. That’s why I am committed to taking action: I’ve founded three non-profit military family support groups in Connecticut that meet several times a month.”

Kimberly Brown works for PayFlex as a special initiatives and communication specialist. One of her responsibilities is to drive awareness about the importance of behavioral health for our veterans. Kimberley and her family live in Hartford, Connecticut.

Our commitment to suicide prevention

As one of the country’s leading health companies, CVS Health is committed to helping people on their path to better health. Part of that mission is and must be the reversal of our devastating suicide trends. To drive meaningful suicide prevention, everyone must play a role. As employers, health care providers, and community members, we have a collective responsibility to do more to intervene at times those at risk of suicide are most vulnerable.

CVS Health is prioritizing suicide prevention as a strategic imperative, intervening with members and non-members during vulnerable times to offer a range of specially tailored, evidence-based resources and support. CVS Health will also continue to work with suicide prevention non-profits and industry experts such as the American Foundation for Suicide and Prevention (AFSP) to deliver suicide prevention training and expanded resources to Aetna members and the public.

If you are thinking about suicide, know someone who is or need to talk with someone, we encourage you to immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

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Given a second chance

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At 17 years old, a time when many teenagers are having fun with friends and looking forward to the freedoms of adulthood, Stephanie Gibbons, specialty pharmacy representative in Fairfield, NJ, was dealing with a very different reality.

“As a teenager I attempted suicide multiple times,” Stephanie explains. “My parents assumed I was "acting out" and "looking for attention." It wasn't until I was 17 that my struggles became real to them.”

That’s because, she says, at 17, Stephanie’s father also attempted suicide.

“It’s something that haunts me to this day. He called me the night before, but I was hanging out late, I was tired and, I’ll admit, hung over, so I didn’t answer. The next day I woke up to a voicemail from him. His voice was slurred, and he didn’t sound like himself. He told me where all his important paperwork was and told me how sorry he was, and that he loved me. I asked my mom if she thought he was capable of killing himself, and while she said no, I just felt like something wasn’t right,” Stephanie says.

Stephanie went to the house her father shared with her grandmother, and her father didn’t respond. “The downstairs neighbor called my grandpa, who came and told me what had happened. My father made several calls the night before, including one to my grandfather, who, by the grace of God, answered! He called an ambulance to my dad’s house, where they found him unresponsive, with no pulse.”

Rescue workers were able to revive Stephanie’s father, and he spent the next three days hospitalized and unconscious. Although the circumstances were tragic, Stephanie says that ultimately they opened the door for him to have the difficult conversations he had been avoiding all his life.

“Like so many black men before him, he was taught he had to be strong and showing emotions or admitting needed help meant he was weak. And having been raised in his religion, therapy was most definitely out of the question. It’s really unfortunate that we almost had to lose my dad for all of us to get to a place where we were comfortable and could talk about the mental health issues that apparently run through our family,” Stephanie says.

Her little brother and older sister were diagnosed as bipolar; her brother also has manic episodes. Her father was diagnosed as having extreme depression and an anxiety disorder. Stephanie has an anxiety disorder, depression, as well as PMDD.

“Today, my bro and I are each other’s main support system. We keep each other “in check” and help each other to stay healthy. My father, brother and sister are all on medication that they will be on for the rest of their lives, but that’s a small price to pay to be able to think and function clearly. I have not found a medication that works for me, but have other forms of therapy that help, such as yoga and writing. I am one of the lucky ones. My family was given a second chance that we refuse to take for granted.

 

Our commitment to suicide prevention

As one of the country’s leading health companies, CVS Health is committed to helping people on their path to better health. Part of that mission is and must be the reversal of our devastating suicide trends. To drive meaningful suicide prevention, everyone must play a role. As employers, health care providers, and community members, we have a collective responsibility to do more to intervene at times those at risk of suicide are most vulnerable.

CVS Health is prioritizing suicide prevention as a strategic imperative, intervening with members and non-members during vulnerable times to offer a range of specially tailored, evidence-based resources and support. CVS Health will also continue to work with suicide prevention non-profits and industry experts such as the American Foundation for Suicide and Prevention (AFSP) to deliver suicide prevention training and expanded resources to Aetna members and the public.

If you are thinking about suicide, know someone who is or need to talk with someone, we encourage you to immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

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Making sure a voice is heard

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For Karen Cloney Beaulieu, an Aetna Health Product Office /WAH CT, Febuary 19, 2017, is a day that changed everything for her and her children. Her son was 14, her daughter just 7.

“I will never forget that day as much as I try to,” Karen says. “That’s the day when my husband Keith made a decision to end his suffering. Keith had been diagnosed many years before as bipolar and had an underlying personality disorder. I want to share Keith's story since I know his death came as a shock to so many people who only saw a smiling face day to day.”

Keith suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was under a year old, which left him with a fractured skull and additional medical concerns. During childhood, he struggled with ADHD, endured several additional concussions and then had a traumatic life incident that led to deepening mental illness.

Keith made several suicidal attempts in his teens and early twenties, but as an Army MP, Karen says he was too proud to seek help. Counseling proved to be a short-term solution for Keith, and he refused medication because of its unpleasant side effects.

“He self-medicated with alcohol, which fueled the anger and only made the battles worse. I watched the man I loved, the man I married and raised children with, fall further and further into his mental illness.”

Keith often said he could not fix himself, something Karen says heartbreakingly spoke to the depth of his struggles. “The sadness and emotional ups and downs that can come with living with someone who has an untreated mental illness are so difficult that you often find yourself struggling as well,” Karen recalls. “I came to dread him leaving every day, not knowing what would happen.”

On the second anniversary of Keith’s passing, Karen became an advocate with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). “I have embraced this mission to stamp out the stigma of mental illness and to bring awareness to struggles. I have written many letters to my state representatives to lobby for laws that will help those fighting this silent battle. This may not be the life I saw myself having, but it was the one that I was given. And I will do my best to make sure Keith’s voice is heard,” Karen says.

Our commitment to suicide prevention

As one of the country’s leading health companies, CVS Health is committed to helping people on their path to better health. Part of that mission is and must be the reversal of our devastating suicide trends. To drive meaningful suicide prevention, everyone must play a role. As employers, health care providers, and community members, we have a collective responsibility to do more to intervene at times those at risk of suicide are most vulnerable.

CVS Health is prioritizing suicide prevention as a strategic imperative, intervening with members and non-members during vulnerable times to offer a range of specially tailored, evidence-based resources and support. CVS Health will also continue to work with suicide prevention non-profits and industry experts such as the American Foundation for Suicide and Prevention (AFSP) to deliver suicide prevention training and expanded resources to Aetna members and the public.

If you are thinking about suicide, know someone who is or need to talk with someone, we encourage you to immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

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