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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Why It's So Hard to Get Mental Healthcare in Rural America

By Syrena Clark
Vice News
October 7, 2016

Here is an excerpt:

Conditions in rural areas can also exacerbate mental-health problems. One in five adults suffers from mental illness, but in rural areas, rates of depression and suicide attempts are significantly higher than in urban areas, according to a report by the Center for Rural Affairs. Mostly because of isolation and poverty. For people who can't afford or access mental healthcare, some turn to self-medication, treating symptoms with drugs, alcohol, and self-harm, worsening their own illnesses. Where I live, it's easier to buy Klonopin from a dealer than it is from a psychiatrist.

After years of inadequate treatment, I swallowed an entire bottle of Gabapentin, a type of seizure medication. My goal was to die. When I was later strapped into an ambulance, the drive to the hospital was over an hour. I got better there, but after six days, I was discharged. It was far too soon, but there simply weren't enough beds to stay.

Mackie said his organization and others are investing in programs that will bring more attention to mental healthcare in rural areas, including programs that "[educate] people in rural areas to be able to provide assistance and care at a basic level," so as to start a pipeline of people who can later become licensed mental-health professionals.

The article is here.