Date: February 7, 2022
Meeting the Behavioral Health Needs of Farm Families in Times of Economic Distress
Economic fluctuations and periods of distress in farming cannot be eliminated, however, their impact on communities and individuals can be mitigated by improving access to behavioral health and other support services.
The strategies offered here to support the development of systems and improved integration of services across health care and community-based organizations include (1) leveraging select payment systems and demonstrations to support coordinated care for families in distress, and (2) aligning grant programs from multiple federal agencies to address mental health and substance use disorders among farm families. Further, the existing rural health care infrastructure is inadequate to meet ongoing rural behavioral health needs, and has limited capacity to respond to surges in demand. The strategies included here that relate to expanding behavioral health services in rural settings are: (3) integrating primary and behavioral care to provide initial treatment of mental health and substance abuse concerns, (4) expand the workforce to improve rural behavioral health services capacity, (5) increasing telehealth services and repurposing available space to expand access to behavioral health services, and (6) expanding private and public insurance coverage to improve access to essential behavioral health services.
Keith J. Mueller, PhD
RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis
Additional Resources of Interest:
- More information about the RUPRI Health Panel: Rural Policy Analysis and Applications
- More information from the Rural Health Information Hub’s topic guides: Farmer Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Mental Health, Substance Use and Misuse
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