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Challenge: How Do You Add Mental Health into Retail Clinics?

Challenge: How Do You Add Mental Health into Retail Clinics?One of the offshoots of our odd healthcare system in the United States is the development of quick healthcare clinics, usually located within pharmacies. These retail clinics can help you check your blood pressure, give you a flu shot, and help you figure out if you need to see a doctor for that skin condition. It’s usually pretty quick (depending upon how busy they are), and inexpensive (since you’re paying out-of-pocket).

Now the Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation — a foundation that’s been around since 1943 — has announced its 2014 design challenge to help add mental health to the retail clinic equation.

It’s a design challenge whose time, perhaps, has come.

I like the idea of having some sort of mental health component in these clinics, and the design challenge is broad in its mandate. It can be anything that helps forward education, access or even service for mental health. Here’s the information they sent us about this challenge:

This year’s challenge is based on the premise that, as healthcare continues to develop, grow, and change, integration between physical health with mental health is critically important across the continuum of healthcare from prevention to recovery and everywhere in between. Integration of care will create better health outcomes for those who need it the most. An American Heart Association (AHA) report stated that in order to improve the quality of mental health care in the United States, needed changes include: Improving public awareness of effective treatment, making it easier to find the care needed and obtain access to it and reducing the financial barriers to treatment.

The Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation and Family Practice and Counseling Network have orchestrated this year’s Design Challenge, in partnership with two M.P.H. students in the Drexel University School of Public Health who are leading the project as their community-based master’s project.

The challenge aims to address integrating mental health care into retail clinics. Retail clinics are small health clinics located within a larger store (CVS’s Minute Clinic, Walgreens’s Take Care Clinic, and various local healthcare systems’ clinics) where patients can receive basic primary health care. Such clinics have existed since 2000 and are best known for their convenience, low cost, and high quality care. Today, the typical retail clinic focuses on basic physical health and does not include mental health interventions (e.g. screening, referral, or crisis management).

The Design Challenge, operated by the Scattergood Foundation, is in its third year and has had successful campaigns in helping to develop a robust Mental Health First Aid training program with the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health as well as a stigma reduction campaign won by the Penn State University chapter of Active Minds. This year’s Design Challenge has two unique aspects which include the Scattergood’s inaugural launch into crowdfunding on the website Indiegogo as well as the potential for the winning intervention to be implemented the Family Practice and Counseling Network’s recently opened retail clinic in North Philadelphia, QCare.

To participate in this year’s Design Challenge and help integrate mental health into retail clinics, or to learn more about this Design Challenge please visit the Scattergood website:

To donate and follow the Scattergood’s goal of raising $10,000 please visit their crowdfunding website:

I’m all for making mental health more accessible.1 But a wealth of mental health knowledge and support is already accessible to practically everyone in the U.S. already, simply by going online. Even if you don’t own a computer, smartphones and your local public library provide access to most people pretty readily.

So the retail clinic offers an opportunity to do something that requires a human being and is more interactive. Please keep that in mind when you submit your idea.

And even if you don’t have an idea, please consider donating to this good cause, using the link above.

It’s certainly time that mental health enjoyed the same benefits as the physical healthcare system. Maybe getting into a retail clinic will help forward that cause.


Read the full Design Challenge here.

Challenge: How Do You Add Mental Health into Retail Clinics?


  1. Even if I don’t particularly think retail clinics are known for their “high quality care.” []

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Challenge: How Do You Add Mental Health into Retail Clinics?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2020, from
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Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 28 Jan 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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