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Rural Project Examples: Mental health

Evidence-Based Examples

Mental Health First Aid
Updated/reviewed July 2019
  • Need: Rural areas face challenges in access to mental health services, including shortages of mental health providers.
  • Intervention: This 8-hour course trains rural community members to recognize mental health and substance abuse issues and learn how to help someone who is developing a mental health concern or experiencing a mental health crisis.
  • Results: Numerous studies of this method have found that course participants are better able and more likely to help others regarding mental health issues.

Effective Examples

Strong African American Families-Teen Program
Updated/reviewed April 2019
  • Need: There is a lack of interventions that addresses teenager behavioral problems, particularly for rural African American adolescents.
  • Intervention: Rural, locally trained leaders administered five 2-hour meetings for teenagers and their primary caregivers. Trainings focused on reducing risks that prevent positive development, specifically sexual risk-taking that can lead to HIV and other STIs.
  • Results: Teens reported reduced conduct problems, depressive symptoms, and substance abuse. Families were strengthened, and SAAF-T reduced unprotected intercourse and increased condom efficacy.
Wyoming Trauma Telehealth Treatment Clinic
Updated/reviewed February 2019
  • Need: To provide psychotherapy to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
  • Intervention: University of Wyoming psychology doctoral students provide psychotherapy via videoconferencing to crisis center clients in two rural locations.
  • Results: Clients, student therapists, and crisis center staff were satisfied with the quality of services, and clients reported reduced symptoms of depression and PTSD.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Madison Outreach and Services through Telehealth (MOST) Network
Updated/reviewed December 2018
  • Need: More mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services in rural Texas.
  • Intervention: A network was formed to bring counseling services through telehealth systems and community health workers to Brazos Valley, Texas.
  • Results: The program improved health outcomes, increased general knowledge of the impact of substance abuse, and raised awareness of services among Hispanic residents.
Rural Telemental Health (RTMH) Program
Updated/reviewed July 2018
  • Need: To provide high-quality mental healthcare to rural veterans.
  • Intervention: The Rural Telemental Health (RTMH) program, stationed at the Portland VA Medical Center, reaches rural veterans in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington via telehealth.
  • Results: From 2010 to 2013, 1,754 veterans received diagnoses, therapy, medication management, and other mental health services.
University of Vermont Medical Center's Nursing Home Telepsychiatry Service
Updated/reviewed July 2018
  • Need: To improve the health status and access for rural nursing home patients in need of mental health services.
  • Intervention: The University of Vermont Medical Center provides telepsychiatry care and education to nursing homes in communities that face shortages of mental health professionals.
  • Results: These telepsychiatry consultations have eased the burden on nursing home residents by saving travel time, distance, and money it takes to travel to the nearest tertiary facility.

Promising Examples

Kitsap Mental Health Services: Race to Health!
Updated/reviewed August 2019
  • Need: To improve the physical health of individuals seeking mental healthcare.
  • Intervention: Race to Health! in Washington integrates mental health, substance use disorder treatment, and primary care for individuals with severe mental illness.
  • Results: Race to Health! helped reduce emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and costs (a total savings of $5,144,000 for Medicare patients).
Felton Early Psychosis Program
Updated/reviewed April 2019
  • Need: A treatment model for those showing early signs of schizophrenia.
  • Intervention: The Felon Early Psychosis Program program was started in rural and urban California counties. The program encourages schizophrenia remission in clients through medication and psychosocial initiatives.
  • Results: Clients' hospitalization and psychiatric emergency room visits were reduced by 70% after 1 year of treatment. Schizophrenia symptoms also reduced significantly among their clients.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Schools That Care
Added April 2019
  • Need: To provide mental health services to rural Kansas students and their families.
  • Intervention: The Schools That Care project provides mental health treatment and case management as well as community education events.
  • Results: In three years, 545 people received services through the school social worker, and 3,227 people participated in community events.
STAIR (Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation)
Updated/reviewed January 2019
  • Need: To increase access to telemental health services for rural veterans, especially women, with a history of trauma.
  • Intervention: STAIR (Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation) is a 10-week program designed to reduce PTSD and depression symptoms and increase emotional regulation and social functioning in clients.
  • Results: Therapists reported that clients attended more sessions when offered via teleconferencing, and clients reported satisfaction with the program.