Boots launches online mental health support services as demand soars

Boots has launched a set of on-demand services to support people with their mental health, with free and paid assistance available on its website.

The street pharmacy has seen an increase in the number of patients seeking mental health advice from its pharmacies and has expanded the service to meet the demand.

A new Boots Online Doctor depression and anxiety treatment available to customers involves a visit to a GP, followed by a personalized treatment and support plan and, if necessary, prescription medication.

Accessible through the Boots website, customers can also access a support room, which matches patients with a therapist who they can talk to via text and offer video recordings. The therapist will also teach self-help tools.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), the main mode of therapy offered by the NHS, will also be available via video calls so that anyone in the country can access support, regardless of their geographical location.

Those looking for a more hands-off approach can use a mood and symptom checker, which offers a brief confidential mental health report reviewed by a mental health professional.

And an information center with free advice and articles related to mental health is also available.

Marc Donovan, Chief Pharmacist at Boots, said: “Mental health is an important part of our well-being, and our pharmacists are always on hand to provide advice and support as the first point of contact for people, whatever their health problem.

“When it comes to mental health, it is important that patients can access the treatments that are right for them.

“Mental health issues like depression and anxiety affect people differently and there is no one-size-fits-all approach,” he adds.

Speaking on Boots’ Taboo Talk podcast, TV presenter Roman Kemp spoke about his own experience with depression and accessing therapy during the pandemic.

“Therapy is something I hope everyone tries in their lifetime,” he said.

“Antidepressants help me. Why should I be ashamed of something that helps me?

The news comes as 1.6 million people are on NHS waiting lists for specialist mental health services, while a further eight million are waiting for help with milder mental health conditions.

The pandemic, the cost of living crisis – and even climate anxiety – have all contributed to plummeting mental health across the UK.

Writing in January, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, called on the government to provide more funding for mental health services.

He said: “Even before COVID-19 hit, mental health services were under pressure, but the pandemic has made matters worse. Those who work in mental health are now reporting a noticeable increase in the severity of illness among their patients.

“This is particularly the case for children and young people, where we have seen eating disorders skyrocket. Some of these children are extremely sick and need to stay in hospital, but there just isn’t enough room to take them all.

A new report released on Monday warned that the mental health of girls in particular was “on the brink” with thousands of people in “deep distress”.

Clients can access the new Boots Mental Health Center by clicking here.

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