DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens is collaborating with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to improve mental health care for military veterans through enhanced education, access to resources and outreach.
The partners are reaching out to veterans with targeted initiatives that address mental health awareness and treatment, suicide prevention and opioid abuse.
“Our work is driven by our commitment to encourage veterans to get the care and services they need, and integrate mental health care as part of their overall wellness and healthy lifestyle,” said VA secretary Dr. David Shulkin. “Joining forces with VFW and Walgreens provides VA an opportunity to further expand our reach and connect with veterans, their families and the community to raise mental health awareness.”
As part of the collaboration, VA, VFW and Walgreens will do the following:
• Educate VFW members to help reduce the stigma associated with mental health conditions, and encourage veterans to seek help through the VA.
• Jointly promote and coordinate with the VA’s Make the Connection campaign, with the aim of fundamentally changing how people think and talk about mental health. Through veterans’ stories of treatment and recovery, Make the Connection shows the benefits of opening up about mental health and making mental health awareness and treatment part of a healthy lifestyle.
• Share patient education materials to help build awareness of Walgreens and VA initiatives to prevent opioid overdose through information, proper disposal of unused medication and access to naloxone, a lifesaving medication that is an antidote to opioids that can prevent fatal opioid overdose.
• Explore training programs and opportunities for Walgreens pharmacists and Healthcare Clinic nurse practitioners to enhance providers’ ability to recognize veteran-specific needs and understand the ways that military culture can influence a veteran’s willingness to seek help.
“The mental well-being of America’s veterans is of the utmost importance to the VFW,” said the organization’s national commander, Brian Duffy. “By working with several organizations we’re able to positively impact a great number of veterans and help to change the narrative associated with mental wellness.”
Walgreens extended its efforts to assist American military veterans on Memorial Day by offering a 20% discount on eligible store items to veterans and their family members shopping at Walgreens and Duane Reade stores and showing a Balance Rewards card and military ID or proof of service.