In 2009 I co-authored a Center for Rural Affairs’ report detailing the critical, but overlooked, need for mental and behavioral health services in rural areas.
The report tied inadequate rural mental and behavioral health care services to a lack of affordable, meaningful health insurance coverage. It concluded this “problem must be addressed for prosperous rural families, economies and communities.”
Despite adoption of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, rural America still lacks mental and behavioral health services. Rural residents have a higher percentage of all categories of mental illnesses, from a serious mental illness to psychological distress to major depression. Nearly one-in-five rural residents experience some mental illness.