Coronavirus Pandemic Exacerbated Mental Health Service Disparities In Rural America
By Consumers for Quality Care, on June 2, 2021
According to People Magazine, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated mental health challenges in rural areas with limited access to health care services.
The American Farm Bureau Federation found that 3 in 5 rural adults reported the pandemic has affected mental health in their communities, and 2 in 3 farmers said it has impacted them personally.
Suicide rates are often higher in rural counties – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the suicide rate in rural counties was over 17 per 100,000 people, compared to 12 per 100,000 in large metro counties.
One such rural county is Kiowa County in Colorado, which has no urgent care center or hospital and has just four clinics to serve a population of 27,000, unlike its suburban neighbors. The lack of health care access has led people like Laura Negley, a rancher in the town of Eads in Kiowa County, to get counseling 200 miles away from her home.
“We have a lack of health providers” in rural America, Negley said. “The ones we do have are doing their best — but they’re trying to wear multiple hats.”