Research has shown that various factors influence the utilization of mental health care in rural populations. There are two categories of barriers in regards to mental health care: structural and attitudinal barriers (Sareen et al., 2007). Structural barriers include limited resources in the community, the lack of transportation and/or appropriate childcare, inadequate health insurance, or financial constraints. Attitudinal barriers include stigma associated with mental illness, belief that “the problem” will not improve, and a perceived lack of privacy (Robinson et al., 2012). The perspectives of patients and their family members regarding access to mental health care in rural areas have been evaluated; however, research is limited regarding the perspectives of providers in terms of the utilization of mental health care (Robinson et al., 2012). This study seeks to obtain the perspectives of psychologists and other mental health care providers working in rural Appalachia, about the barriers related to accessing mental health care in their region. Participants will complete a questionnaire that will assess a wide range of perceived barriers, and that will also seek their recommendations for improving access in these regions. This analysis will hopefully add to the knowledge in this area, making way for further discussion and intervention that is crucial to providing services to under-served populations residing in rural areas. Data collection is currently underway.
Alyssa Adkins is a student in the psychology doctoral program at Marshall University. She is from a rural region in West Virginia and is interested in exploring barriers to accessing mental health care, especially in rural areas.
Dr. Penny Koontz is an Associate Professor in the psychology department at Marshall University. Her research interests include the delivery of mental health services to under-served populations, addiction, the psychological correlates of obesity, and geropsychology.
Dr. April Fugett is an Assistant Professor in the psychology department at Marshall University. Her research interests include technology, language, reading comprehension, memory, and the influence of popular culture in terms of cognition.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/april_fugett-fuller/3/