Mental health care shortages in rural areas have resulted in the majority of services being offered through primary medical care settings. The authors argue that a paradigm shift must occur so that those in need of mental health care have reasonable, timely access to these services. Changes proposed include integrating mental health services into primary medical care settings, moving away from the traditional view of mental health care services (one therapist, one hour, and one client), and increasing the consultative role of psychologists and other mental health care providers in primary medical care. Characteristics of mental health providers that facilitate effective integration into primary medical care are presented. The results of a needs assessment survey and an example of a telemental health project are described. This project involved brief consultations with patients and their physicians from a shared care model using a broadband internet telecommunications link between a rural clinic and mental health service providers in an urban area.
Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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