Rural Mental Health Services are unfortunately severely lacking, although they are better than the used to be.
Rural and urban areas have similar rates of serious mental health disorder, but suicide rates are higher in rural areas. With a lack of trained psychiatrists in rural areas, the care of patients with a mental health disorder often falls to primary care doctors who may not be fully equipped to handle all cases. Rural populations recognize mental health disorders less and perceive the need for care later than urban populations do. They also tend to be more concerned about costs.
There are several more barriers to treatment as well. Public transportation is not always available in a rural setting, rural age averages are older than urban areas, and the degree of isolation varies by setting, with some remote areas considered frontier. Rural areas have a high substance misuse rate, while unemployment, and lack of available work increase stress, which further complicates things.
Telemental Health and new PHIP contracts are currently being used to bring better services to rural areas in Michigan. For more information about improvements being made, click here to read an article from the Michigan State Spartan News Room.