Walmart is launching a new mental health educational website alongside a social impact innovation company.
The new website, Safe & Well, provides interactive learning opportunities, as well as information on prescription drug safety and an array of mental health resources. The Safe & Well site utilizes video and interactive software to address opioid use, prescription drug use and misuse, mental health awareness, coping, seeking help for mental health challenges and more.
“We are seeing people struggle with unprecedented levels of personal stress and restricted access to support networks in communities across the country as a result of the pandemic, which can ultimately compromise health and many other important aspects of people’s lives. Our hope is that the new Safe & Well tool will be an accessible and valuable source of information for people at risk of prescription drug misuse and those who care about them,” Dr. Thomas Van Gilder, Walmart’s chief medical officer, said in a statement.
Citing an August 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, Walmart pointed to the rising number of individuals contending with mental health issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the report, 31 percent of the individuals surveyed reported anxiety or depression symptoms.
This increase in negative mental health has, based on the report, accelerated substance abuse and other behavioral issues. In the survey, 13 percent reported that they had started or increased substance abuse with 11 percent saying they had seriously considered suicide.
EVERFI co-founder and president Jon Chapman highlighted the interconnected nature of mental health and drug misuse when discussing the necessity of the new website. Chapman said providing accurate information is critical in stemming the rising number of drug overdoses and suicide. “Mental wellness and prescription drug misuse are impacting communities across the country and there has never been a more critical time to focus on investing in the health of these communities. These issues are intertwined and not only can addressing them improve the economy of a community, but it can truly save a life by providing consumers with the information they need in the moment they need it,” he said.
This new site’s launch comes on the heels of the start of National Substance Abuse Prevention Month and National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. In addition to partnering with EVERFI, Walmart collaborated with the Prescription Drug Safety Network to unveil the Safe & Well site, which can be accessed here.