Got the holiday blues?
Perhaps politics has you down.
Or you can’t take your eyes off the fading markets. And, who could blame you for that?
All told, 90% of the 70 asset classes tracked by Deutsche Bank are posting negative total returns in dollar terms for the year through mid-November.
That’s on track for the highest share of losing assets classes since 1920.
By comparison, last year, just 1% of all asset classes delivered negative returns.
All-in-all, on top of seasonal affective disorder, there’s a chance December 2018 will be remembered for its market-driven manic depression.
What’s Up Doc?
Thankfully, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) may soon be offering you a cure.
You see, a Boston company is taking the concept of retail healthcare to a new level – offering mental health treatment in a Walmart.
Beacon Health Options, which manages mental health care for 40 million people, has teamed with the global mega-retailer and opened a small clinic in a corner of Walmart’s Carrollton, TX, store.
Beacon Health is privately held by Bain Capital. The company says it wants to roll out its program in other retail locations nationwide, with the goal of increasing access to mental health care.
Interestingly, Beacon has no immediate plans for locations on its home turf –Massachusetts. That’s because Boston has a high concentration of quality mental healthcare.
Of course, drop-in mental health will surely be met with skepticism, but Beacon portrays the retail clinic program as an effort to bring mental health services to underserved areas in a way that will make it easy and comfortable for people to seek help.
The company may have a point because you don’t see Walmarts in posh neighborhoods such as Park Avenue, Grosse Pointe, or Bel Air. Folks there fire up their German status symbols and cruise to therapy that’s set in plush surroundings
Today, Beacon’s Walmart clinic is staffed by one licensed clinical social worker, who is there to help treat anxiety, depression, grief, and the general stress of everyday living.
People with serious mental illnesses and those in crisis will be referred to other professionals in Beacon’s network, as will those who need prescription medications.
As with walk-in medical clinics, such as CVS’ MinuteClinic, patients can choose to simply show up at the Walmart or they can request an appointment online or over the phone.
Dr. Russell Patrella, Beacon Health’s CEO, says his goal is to fight the stigma associated with therapy in working-class neighborhoods while simplifying the process of finding quality help.
“We chose a retail setting because it offers the convenience of a local neighborhood location that is close by and easy to get to, and our evening hours accommodate our patients’ schedules,” Petrella said in a press release.
He told The Boston Globe, “People don’t know how to find a behavioral health or mental health professional. They don’t know where to go and what to do.
Moreover, across the land the trend is that most psychiatrists and many therapists don’t accept insurance, saying the pay is too low and the hassles too time-consuming.
So, while the Neiman Marcus crowd can foot out of pocket care, many Walmart customers are shopping at the discount retailer because they’re trying to make ends meet.
While Walmart has been targeted for its role in the demise of Main Street America, there’s little chance it will threaten the $500 an hour therapist.
“We’re trying to mainstream behavioral health services,” said Patrella.
That may be true, but if the CVS MinuteClinic model is an indication, offering discount mental health care could be highly lucrative, too.
CVS (NYSE:CVS) operates more than 1,100 MinuteClinics, which generated around $400 million in revenues for 2017.
That’s plenty of motivation to take therapy to the people.