The Disparities of Mental Health Care Between Rural and Urban Areas in the United States

By Shirley J. Davis: For More Info, Go Here…

Receiving appropriate mental health care is crucial to healing. However, an enormous number of American citizens cannot and do not receive the care they need because there simply are no providers in their region to turn to in times of crisis.

In this piece, we shall examine the statistics and costs both monetary and personal of the lack of mental health professionals in rural America as compared to living in or near a major city.

The Essence of the Disparity Problem

More mental health professionals choose to hang out their shingle in urban areas than rural, but why? What are the differences that cause the men and women of the helping professions to decide to stay away from the rural areas of the country?

There are basically three reasons that mental health professionals avoid working in rural settings; poverty, lack of insurance, and lack of opportunities for a provider’s family.

Poverty: The number of people living in rural areas as compared to those living in or near cities is almost double.4

Lack of Insurance: Because of poverty, most people who impoverished are covered by either Medicaid or have no insurance at all. Mental health providers know that Medicaid is notorious for either paying grossly below their fees or not covering their services at all making moving to impoverished rural areas less attractive.4

Lack of Opportunities for the Provider’s Family: Professionals offering mental health services have families and must weigh their wish to service rural areas to the needs of their children. Since rural America has fewer opportunities for good schools and university availability, many choose to remain near cities.

Clearly, mental health professionals need incentives to make the difficult decision to move to a rural area to help those who live there without harming their families.

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