On December 13, Healthcare Technology reported that the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, has challenged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to invest up to $50 million in mental health services for rural populations. Among those services are telehealth.
The USDA investments in mental healthcare facilities will reduce the difficulty many rural families face in accessing mental health help,” Vilsack stated. “These funds can also help expand and improve upon the services already offered by mental health facilities in rural communities, many of which increasingly are focused on helping military veterans.
Rural area suicide rates are 54% higher than those in urban settings, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).
In fact, depression is significantly more prevalent in rural areas than in urban areas. However, because rural areas have fewer than half the number of psychologists per 100,000 residents than urban areas do, primary care physicians without sufficient training handle most depression complaints.