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Walgreens to team with VA, VFW to provide veteran assistance

BY Brian Berk

WASHINGTON — Walgreens, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. jointly announced a collaborative agreement that will help improve mental health care for veterans via enhanced education, access to resources and outreach.

Walgreens, VA and VFW will work together to reach veterans in communities across the country with targeted initiatives to address mental health awareness and treatment, veteran suicide prevention and opioid overdose education.

“We’re proud of the collaborations we’ve developed to provide greater access to pharmacy and health-care services for current and former members of the armed services, including retirees and their families,” said Brad Fluegel, Walgreens chief healthcare commercial market development officer. “We look forward to working closely with VA and VFW to help heighten mental-health awareness and hope to improve the health and well-being of more Veterans by connecting them with VA, VFW and other resources that can help.”

As part of the collaboration, Walgreens, VA and VFW and Walgreens will:

  • Educate VFW members to help reduce the stigma associated with mental health conditions, as well as encourage seeking help through VA. The outreach effort includes Walgreens and VA programming at several upcoming state VFW meetings.
  • Jointly promote and coordinate with VA’s Make the Connection campaign with the goal of helping to fundamentally change how people think and talk about mental health. Through veterans’ own stories of treatment and recovery, Make the Connection shows the many benefits of opening up about mental health concerns and making mental health awareness and treatment part of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Share patient education materials to help build awareness of both Walgreens and VA initiatives to prevent opioid overdose through education, 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 to better understand the military culture, which may influence veterans’ willingness to seek help.

“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 J. 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.”

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