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CVS Health Be Seen, Be Heard™

We're promoting mental health equity through easily accessible mental health resources, depression screenings and community services. That's how we're helping everyone be seen and be heard.

What does mental health equity mean?

It means making sure everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as mentally and physically healthy as possible — and ensuring everyone has access to the mental health resources they need to thrive.

Mental health equity matters

Mental health issues do not discriminate; they impact everyone. In all communities, there are people dealing with mental health issues, both directly and indirectly. But while many who face mental health challenges say very little, the data about those impacted says quite a lot.

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Minority representation

In many communities, it is difficult to achieve equity in mental health. According to a recent CVS Health/Harris Poll survey, nearly 17% of People of Color say they have difficulty finding a mental health provider who understands their culture. Finding a practitioner to trust can also be challenging, often leading people to avoid getting available help, like counseling. This is why representation in mental health is so important.

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African American community

African Americans and the Black American community at large often face structural problems getting the care and treatment they need. In general, 63% of Black people say they view mental health issues as something being wrong with them, either morally or spiritually. 1

As a result, these communities may become nervous about possible discrimination, which prevents them from looking for help. However, Black adults say they are more likely to report constant signs of emotional distress than white adults. 1

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American Indians & Alaska Natives (AIAN) community

In 2019, nearly 19% of American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) adults reported mental health issues. In 2021, there were 9.7 million AIAN individuals recorded in the U.S. census — 86% more than in 2020. 1

Thousands of Indigenous people experience multi-generational trauma that often leads to mental health problems, substance use disorders and even suicide. However, historical and current discrimination makes it challenging to properly document information about the mental well-being of AIAN people. Because of this, many Indigenous people have trouble accessing the mental health care that they need. 1

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Hispanic & Latino / Latinx community

Over 17% of the U.S. population identify as Hispanic, Latino or Latinx, making them the nation’s largest ethnic group.1 One in 10 Hispanic, Latino or Latinx people receive mental health services from their primary care doctor. This is due to the fact that only 8% of mental health providers identify as Hispanic and only one in 20 receive mental health care from a practitioner who specializes in mental health. 1

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Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community

For Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI), mental health problems are sometimes blamed on mental fortitude, or a person's lack of mental strength. These feelings are sometimes blamed on an individual's family, causing complicated feelings of shame, not only for the person dealing with mental health issues but also for the people in their household. Because of this, many AAPI people can feel nervous about seeking help because they want to protect their family's reputation. 2

In this scenario, primary care practitioners have an important opportunity to reduce stigma of depression by educating about and treating it, offering screening tools and emphasizing that depression is a medical illness and is not indicative of weakness. 2

Depression support

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in the U.S. and is a leading cause of disability in those ages 15 and older. People of all ages and racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds experience depression, but it does affect some groups more than others. 3

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Common causes of depression

Depression doesn't have a single cause; it's complex and often can be recurring, lasting from months to years if left untreated. Around 21 million U.S. adults — 8.4% of the population — experienced a major depressive episode in 2020. Depression can be triggered by various factors including: 4

  • trauma
  • genetics
  • life circumstances
  • brain changes
  • other medical conditions
  • drug and alcohol use disorders

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What does depression feel like?

Depression can cause ongoing feelings of sadness, and a general loss of motivation or interest. It can affect not just how you feel but also how you think, behave, and see yourself and others in the world around you.

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From the physical to the emotional, symptoms of depression can include:

  • Ongoing sadness or unexplained crying spells
  • Significant appetite and sleep changes
  • Irritability, indifference, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety, and pessimism
  • Loss of energy and ongoing lethargy
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating and/or indecisiveness
  • Lack of interest in former activities, social withdrawal
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

If left untreated, these symptoms can be devastating for those with depression and their families. 5

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How is depression treated?

Effective depression treatment involves early detection, diagnosis and a plan that can include medication, psychotherapy and lifestyle adjustments. Success varies by depression type and severity, but a wide range of therapies exist, including:

  • psychotherapy
  • psychoeducation
  • support groups
  • antidepressants 
  • complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)

Always discuss your options with your clinician, practitioner or other healthcare professional. 6

Access resources for depression

Depression isn’t a one-size-fits-all issue. Everybody’s brain is different, which means mental health resources should be different for each type of person. Let us help you move forward with depression screening tools for providers and patients.

  • Provider resources

    If you are a provider, access free depression screenings tools to help you diagnose, recognize and treat depression with your patients.

  • Aetna® member resources

    If you are an Aetna member, learn how Aetna can help support you through every step of your mental health journey.

  • Community resources

    Explore health care services, tools for providers and users, and information for all ages to empower yourself and find the help you deserve.

Support for care

Equity means understanding that money can be a barrier to achieving and maintaining optimal health. Find resources that can help you get affordable, local and online care, and help with the cost of treatment.

Need support now?

Suicide and crisis lifeline: 988

Text: 988

Crisis text line: Text “Talk” to 741741


*Disclaimer: CVS Health Be Seen, Be Heard does not provide emergency services. If this is a medical emergency or public safety concern call 911 immediately. 

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