Therapeutic Needs

Rural life is often portrayed as idyllic and down-to-earth. Rural communities are assumed to be less stressful and more humane. However, epidemiological studies reveal serious mental health problems in rural settings. In fact, many psychopathologies have higher rates of incidence in agricultural areas. Despite their need, rural communities often lack mental health services taken for granted in cities.

One major reason for the lack of mental health services is that most therapists are trained in urban universities.

Faculty (and students) are unfamiliar with the values, concerns, and language of rural living. Consequently, specialized programs and methods (e.g., traveling clinics and in-school programs) are necessary to prepare mental health care providers with the strategies they need to cope with problems encountered in rural communities.

One issue receiving attention in rural communities is child abuse. Rural environments are different in many respects from urban environments, which are more widely understood. It should not be surprising, therefore, to find that rural child abuse is perceived differently and frequently goes unreported. Nonetheless, home-based early intervention programs are successful in helping at-risk children.

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