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Rural Project Examples: Depression

Evidence-Based Examples

Chronic Disease Self-Management Program
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: To help people with chronic conditions learn how to manage their health.
  • Intervention: A small-group 6-week workshop for individuals with chronic conditions to learn skills and strategies to manage their health.
  • Results: Participants have better health and quality of life, including reduction in pain, fatigue, and depression.
Telepsychology-Service Delivery for Depressed Elderly Veterans
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: To provide evidence-based psychotherapy for depression in elderly veterans who are unable to seek mental health treatment due to distance or stigma.
  • Intervention: Telepsychology-Service Delivery for Depressed Elderly Veterans compared providing behavioral activation therapy via home-based telehealth and the same treatment delivered in a traditional office-based format.
  • Results: A 2015 study and two 2016 studies show that providing treatment via home-based telehealth to elderly veterans in South Carolina resulted in the same improved health outcomes, quality of life, satisfaction with care, and cost of healthcare compared to those receiving face-to-face treatment.
Project ECHO® – Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes
Updated/reviewed July 2017
  • Need: To increase the capacity for more effective treatment of chronic, complex conditions in rural and underserved communities.
  • Intervention: Through a specially-designed project, remote primary care providers work with academic specialists as a team to manage chronic conditions of rural patients, expanding remote providers' knowledge base through shared case studies.
  • Results: Patient management and care provided by rural providers through ongoing education and mentoring from Project ECHO® has proved as effective as treatment provided by specialists at a university medical center.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Cross-Walk: Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care
Updated/reviewed October 2018
  • Need: To address and treat substance abuse and depression in the Upper Great Lakes region.
  • Intervention: Cross-Walk, a program that integrates behavioral healthcare into primary care services, was developed in Michigan's Marquette County.
  • Results: The collaborative efforts strengthened care management services in local healthcare facilities as primary care patients were referred to a behavioral health specialist.

Other Project Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Medical Home Plus
Updated/reviewed February 2020
  • Need: To help reduce diabetes, depression, and stroke risk in rural residents.
  • Intervention: A collaborative care model was implemented in the Idaho counties of Clearwater, Idaho, and Lewis.
  • Results: Increased number of patients with controlled blood sugar, controlled blood pressure, and higher depression screening rates.
New Horizons Geriatric Counseling Program
Updated/reviewed February 2020
  • Need: Improved behavioral health care offerings for a community after losing 5 senior-aged men to suicide.
  • Intervention: A Critical Access Hospital in Yoakum, Texas, created a community-based program focusing on inpatient and outpatient behavioral health care for area residents age 50 and older.
  • Results: A financially-sustainable behavioral health care delivery model demonstrating positive impacts on physical health conditions, healthcare service utilization, and high patient satisfaction rates.
Healthy Men Michigan
Updated/reviewed April 2019
  • Need: Mental health assistance and resources for men in rural Michigan who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.
  • Intervention: The Healthy Men Michigan campaign was a research study testing online screening for depression, including irritability and anger, and suicide in working-aged men. The Healthy Men Michigan campaign website also offered referrals to local and national resources specific to men's mental health.
  • Results: More than 5,000 individuals completed anonymous online screenings and 550 men enrolled in the study. Healthy Men Michigan secured partnerships with over 225 individual and organizational partners, including healthcare facilities, small businesses, and recreational groups across the state. Together, their efforts have helped to promote screenings, reduce stigma, and encourage help-seeking behavior to prevent suicide.