About 46.2 million people in the United States (14 percent of the population) lived in non-metropolitan (rural) communities in 2015. The nation’s rural and frontier communities face some challenges when addressing behavioral health conditions and gaining access to treatment and recovery services—including an insufficient number of specialist providers and models of care that may not consider rural-specific issues (e.g., geographical distance or the need for transportation). However, these communities have developed and applied creative approaches—especially telehealth technologies and innovative methods of service delivery—to provide access to treatment and recovery supports for residents of rural and frontier communities. Panelists will discuss the particular issues in addressing the behavioral health needs that are relevant for these communities, share innovative approaches to addressing them in remote areas, and review the challenges faced when attempting to reduce the treatment gap for rural and frontier residents. They will also address the special considerations of Native American/American Indian communities living in rural areas.
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