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Tuesday, June 02, 2009 FOSSTON, MN 9,000 (1 19) Newspaper (W) 4 Center For Rural Affairs

Rural Mental Health Overlooked and Disregarded As National Mental HealthAwareness Month is drawing to a close, the Center released a report entitled, Mental Health: Overlooked and Disregarded in Rural America. The report examines what one author, Kim Preston, calls, "the alarming deficiencies of the mental health care system in rural America." According to Preston, Rural Research Assistant for the Center for Rural Affairs, rural Americans remain undeserved in terms of mental health care providers and health insurance coverage for mental health services despite the fact rural Americans suffer just as much from mental illness. "This report further demonstrates that rural America's economic dependence on small business and selfemployment calls for health care reform that includes an affordable, meaningful public h d t h insurance option. And that any such reform should also ensure that all Americans,

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rural and urban, have reason- coun terparts. Stress-Stress is associable access to quality mental atcd with increased mental health care," Preston added. The Center for Rural health disorders and rural Affairs, in collaboration with people experience stress with Dr. Dianne Travers Gus- cyclical farm crises, natural tafson, Creighton University, disasters and social isolation. Barriers of Atrailability-Omaha, Nebraska, recently undertook the task of evalu- More than 85 percent of thc ating rural Americans access 1,669 federally designated to crucial mental health care mental health professional services. This is the fourth shortage areas are rural. I.ack of Accessibility-in a series of Center for Rural Affairs reports examin- Only in rural America did the ing crucial health care issues National Advisory Commitin rural America. Previous tee on Rural Health (1993) reports can be found on the find enare counties with no front page of the Center's practicing psychiatrists, psychologists, or social workers. website (www.cfra.or&. Social Stigma-The social A full copy of the report can be viewed and down- stigma attached to mental health problems in combiloaded at http://files.cfra. nation with a general lack org/pdf/Mental-HealthO v e r l o o s e d - a n d - D i s r c - of anonymity in many small garded-in-Rural-America.pdf communities leads some people to forego treatment. Lack of affordable, meanCrucial Findings: Depression--Major ingful health insurance coverdepression rates in some rural age--Rural Americans are less areas significantly cxcccd likely than urban Americans those in urban areas. Teens to have health insurance that and older adults in rural areas covers mental or behavioral have significantly higher sui- health services. cide rates than their urban

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