Lack of Access to Specialist in Rural America
There is a significant need for mental health services in rural America.
The following factors are particular challenges to the provision of mental health services in rural communities:
Rural mental health specialists are scarce. Recognizing that this must change, the Center for Rural Affairs identifies mental health services as one of the top health reform issues for rural America. Unfortunately, this need for mental health care has not been met with widely available and accessible mental health services in rural areas. Despite the substantive calling for mental health services in rural areas, many barriers prevent rural Americans from receiving the care they need. These barriers revolve around issues of availability and accessibility. In many rural communities, mental health services are simply not available. In fact, more than 85 percent of the 1,669 federally designated mental health professional shortage areas are rural. And only in rural America did the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health find entire counties with no practicing psychiatrists, psychologists, or social workers. This desperate lack of trained mental health professionals means that individuals who need emergency care will likely be transported out of their communities to other locations where care is available.
How Brighter Day Health Helps
This is where we at Brighter Day Health can help. Barriers related to the availability of mental health care services in rural areas may be reduced through the use of telehealth technology. Telehealth refers to the use of current information technologies and telecommunication systems to make health education and health care available despite distance or travel barriers. According to the Health Research and Services Administration, telemental health services are in the top three most used telehealth services. Through this technology, individual and family consultation and care may be offered in rural clinics and hospitals, community mental health centers and long term care facilities. It also allows for ongoing education and training of rural mental health practitioners and staff.