From the Abstract: "Mental health service barriers in rural and remote areas, including unmet need, lack of access to services, and insufficient workforce capacity have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic. These factors also impact tribal governments and American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations living in rural and remote areas, which face additional obstacles in mental health service delivery, but also have unique cultural and programmatic assets. An existing body of work explores problems and solutions faced in the delivery of mental health services in rural, remote, and tribal areas. This paper summarizes some of this work and explores the context of COVID-19. In addition to a review of the literature, the paper draws on national survey data and interviews with experts. The paper examines rural and remote mental health systems during the pandemic within the 'Beyond Beds' framework, assuming a goal of creating a robust, interconnected, and evidence-based system of care. Rural and remote populations have experienced increased prevalence of mental illness a result of COVID-19, but the complete impact of the pandemic on mental health and social wellbeing remains unknown. Rural and remote mental health systems experienced disruptions to service delivery and rapid adoption of tele-behavioral health during the pandemic. While this natural experiment demonstrated the value of increased tele-behavioral health care, additional work remains to understand the optimal role of telehealth in rural and remote mental health systems."
Technical Assistance Collaborative Paper No. 7
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors: https://www.nasmhpd.org/