Mental Health Being Ignored in Rural Areas

The CDC reported, in 2015 alone, 43.4 million adults suffered from some kind of behavioral health problem. Restricted access to mental health care is directly linked to bigger public health problems going on right now, including drug abuse and suicide. 

A recent study in American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that 65% of rural counties, like Fayette and the surrounding counties, do not have a psychiatrist and 47% of rural counties do not have a psychologist. This indicates that people suffering from mental health issues in rural areas do not have access to the help they need. 

The reason behind this lack of specialized care comes down to a lack of funding. Federal and State cuts in funding for health care hurt rural areas, especially because they are already experiencing a huge deficit in available health care compared to metropolitan areas. Roughly 80 hospitals in rural areas closed between 2010 and 2017, according to the Chartis Center for Rural Health. Due to setbacks like that, mental health care has been put on the backburner for rural areas, leaving people who suffer from these issues to either have to drive a long distance to get to a professional, or seek help as a last resort. 

Anybody who has been personally affected by what mental health issues can cause, whether by personal experience or by somebody close to them, knows that these issues are not something that can be fixed with a one-time intervention, or a last resort doctor’s trip. Mental Health is a journey, and we are all on it. 

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