We welcome Adrienne Sutherland who works for a Non-Profit Organization called Community Chest in rural Nevada. Adrienne is a licensed clinical professional counselor and a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor.

Jake and Adrienne will be discussing mental illness in rural and urban residents. Mental health care needs are not met in many rural communities across the country because adequate services are not present and such organization that Adrienne works for provides services to these areas.

While the prevalence of mental illness is similar between rural and urban residents, the services available are very different. Mental healthcare needs are not met in many rural communities across the country because adequate services are not present.

There are challenges and important issues in mental healthcare delivery. Such as, workforce shortages, access issues, anonymity, stigma, integration of mental health services into primary care, and suicide prevention.

With the large percentage of individuals being effected by mental illness, the misconceptions, myths, and cultural taboos associated with mental illness may be the most significant barriers that keep people with mental disorders from seeking and receiving treatment in rural areas.

While there are all these drawbacks to small communities when it comes to mental health, there are definitely positives as well. The close knit nature of a rural community can also mean that residents are more likely to rally around each other and provide community support in times of need. This strong external support group can help facilitate a person’s success in treatment and also help support the family’s efforts in attending to the care seeker.

Educating these communities is the key to better understanding mental illness and providing individuals with safe space to come seek help without judgment. Providing and implementing a community based mental health program, which includes a comprehensive set of interventions. Health education curriculum that includes suicide prevention and/or mental health which can be introduced into the schools and community centers in the area.

The mental health of rural communities remains a vital concern. Rural areas vary significantly in demographics, economics, industry, and degree of isolation. The major barriers to providing mental health care in rural areas are similar: low population density, long distances from metropolitan areas, large geographical areas with poor transportation, and limited workforce power and financial resources.

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