Mental health problems have considerable impact on children and their families and some of these impacts are higher in rural than urban areas. Rural children are slightly but significantly more likely to have a mental health problem than urban children, are more likely to have a behavioral difficulty, and are more likely to be usually or always affected by their condition. Compared to urban children, rural children are more likely to go without access to all parent-reported needed mental health services and their families spend more time coordinating their care. This working paper and associated research & policy brief provide information on prevalence of children's mental health needs and associated access to care and family impact across rural and urban areas. Analyses are based on the 2005-06 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs.
Using a qualitative approach, this study explored the role of rural jails in the mental health systems in rural communities, investigating how rural jails manage mental health and substance abuse problems among inmates, determining barriers to providing mental health services faced by rural jails, and identifying promising practices for service delivery. Rural jail administrators and mental health providers understood the need for mental health services for jail inmates but were constrained by inadequate community mental health resources, lack of coordination with community mental health providers, and infrastructure challenges including facilities, transportation, training, and legal processes. Promising practices included short-term hold policies, separation of inmates with mental health concerns, and regular communication among stakeholders.
This study addresses the issue of poor mental health among young to middle-career rural residents and how their employment may be affected. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), a nationally representative survey of adults, the authors investigate how depressive symptoms affect employment patterns, and the extent to which such effects differ by rural and urban residence. Analysis of the data identified the rural sample as more likely to be married, have less education, are less likely to be black or Hispanic, and less likely to have health insurance than the urban sample. For both rural and urban subjects, individuals with depressive symptoms work less than those not depressed. Although the findings indicate no significant difference between depressed rural and urban residents in maintaining employment, questions remain about rural access to mental health services, such as employee assistance, productivity on the job, and the survival or coping strategies of rural workers with depressive symptoms.
This study examines rural and urban differences in the use of children's mental health services and the role that family income, health insurance, and mental health status play in explaining these differences. The analysis is based on three years of pooled data from the National Survey of America's Families (NSAF). Three research questions are examined: (1) What is the mental health need of children, age 6 to 17? (2) What percentage of children, with an identified mental health need, used a mental health service in the past year? What is the average number of mental health visits they received in the past year? (3) What role does family income and type of insurance have on the use of mental health services by children? Analyses show that rural and urban children both face substantial barriers to use of mental health services. Medicaid and SCHIP help all children, but particularly rural children who receive mental health care. This suggests that these public health insurance programs are important policy vehicles for enhancing the access of rural children to mental health care.
The number of Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) providing specialty mental health services remains limited. This study examined changes in the delivery of mental health services by RHCs, their operational characteristics, barriers to the development of services, and policy options to encourage more RHCs to deliver mental health services. Key Findings: Approximately 6% of independent and 2% of provider-based RHCs offer mental health services by doctoral-level psychologists and/or clinical social workers. Models used to provide mental health services include contracted and/or employed clinicians housed in the same facility as primary care providers. A key element in the development of mental health services is the presence of an internal champion (typically clinicians or senior administrators) who identify the need for and undertake implementation of services, help overcome internal barriers, and direct resources to the development of services.