- Boots says it has seen a rise in patients asking for mental health advice and support in its pharmacies
- New services at boots.com, including the Boots Online Doctor Depression & Anxiety Treatment, respond to growing needs
- On a recent appearance on Boots’ Taboo Talk podcast, broadcaster Roman Kemp shared his own experience with depression and the tools that helped him
Boots has launched a collection of on-demand mental health services that offer patients a range of tools and treatments they can access quickly and conveniently. The help, advice and support that can now be found at boots.com includes talking therapy and access to prescription medicines for those that need it.
The news comes at a time when the number of adults experiencing depression and anxiety is still up on pre-pandemic levels, with an estimated 1.6 million people waiting to access mental health support on the NHS.
Boots has also seen a rise in patients asking for mental health advice and support in its pharmacies and in response to growing demand has developed the Boots Online Doctor Depression & Anxiety Treatment – a GP consultation followed by a tailored treatment and support plan and, if appropriate, prescription medicine.
Additional mental health advice and support are also now accessible via boots.com:
- SupportRoom, whichmatches a therapist offering psychological and emotional support via ‘text talk’ and video check ins and offers holistic health insights and self-help tools
- Livi Talking Therapies – Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) via video call
- How Are Things? Mood & Symptom Checker, which offers a short, confidential mental health report reviewed by a mental health professional
- An information hub of articles with free information and advice about mental health
Boots pharmacists continue to offer general health and wellbeing advice to patients and can signpost to appropriate mental health services in person at over 2,200 stores. Over 4,000 Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists have had extra training to support people affected by cancer and the adverse mental health impact this can have. In addition, all Boots Beauty Specialists also receive empathy training.
Marc Donovan, Chief Pharmacist at Boots, said: “Mental health is an important part of our wellbeing, and our pharmacists are always on hand to provide advice and support as a first port of call for people – whatever their healthcare issue.
“Since the start of the pandemic, our pharmacists noticed an increase in requests from patients for mental health services. In response, we’re making dedicated online mental health services available to our patients, providing accessible support and helping relieve pressure on the mental health services already available through the NHS.”
“The services you can now find at Boots offer a range of treatment options including talking therapy and access to prescription medicine for those who need it. When it comes to mental health, it’s important that patients can access the treatments that suit them. Mental health issues like depression and anxiety affect people differently and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach.”
Speaking on Boots’ popular Taboo Talk podcast about his own experience with depression, radio host and TV presenter Roman Kemp said: “When it comes to mental health, especially in men, I think we want it to be ‘oh, here’s a cure for it, it will be gone forever’, but it’s not like that. I think you just learn to deal with it and you know that there’s going to be times when it’s tough and then there’s going to be times when it’s ok.
“It’s about how you educate yourself, how you deal with the tough moments, and what are the tools you can call upon that you’ve used before to help you… I’ve learned over the years how to deal with it, I’ve done different forms of meditation and if my depression starts to get bad again, I will go and see a therapist, and I’ve always been really open about that.”
Roman also talked about the role of medication to treat mental health conditions. He said: “There’s a lot of stigma around people taking anti-depressants – but it’s genuinely whatever works for you. Some people prefer to sit with a therapist, some people prefer meditation or to go to the gym. All these things are coping mechanisms.”
Boots now offers over 100 healthcare services in store and online – all of which can be viewed on its Health Hub on boots.com. The Boots Online Doctor provides support for over 45 healthcare conditions including those that can have an impact on mental health, such as hair loss, erectile dysfunction and menopause.
Digital, on-demand healthcare services are growing in popularity among patients. According to a recent study commissioned by Boots, nine in 10 (88%) people who used digital healthcare services during the pandemic plan to continue to use them thanks to the convenience they offer.
This is particularly true for mental health services; the Boots survey shows that four in five (82%) respondents would consider using digital services for mental health and nearly three quarters would prefer to talk to a doctor (70%) or access therapy (72%) digitally than in person.
Details of the new, online mental health services available at Boots can be found at the health and beauty retailer’s dedicated page on Boots.com. Prices start from £10 for the How are things? Mood & Symptom Checker,£40 per month for a SupportRoom subscription package and £65 per session for Livi Talking Therapies. Boots Online Doctor Depression & Anxiety Treatment costs £65 for the initial consultation and first month’s medication, if needed. After that Boots will enroll patients into a membership service, costing £65 per month.