This research evaluated barriers to mental health care according to the perceptions o f rural dwellers. A survey was mailed to randomly selected registered voters in Lincoln County, Washington, in order to assess their perceptions of barriers to mental health care. The survey consisted of a request for demographic information, Lik:ert-style questions, and forced-choice responses that inquired about barriers to mental health care from the rural respondent' s perspective. Response patterns were then compared to (a) historical factors identified as barriers to mental health care: transportation, cost, accessibility, stigma, and self-reliance, and (b) the additional factors: distrust of outsiders, rural definitions of mental health, outreach possibilities, and prescription privileges for psychologists. A comprehensive evaluation of the responses from rural residents was performed to assess the barriers to mental health treatment. An effort for superior external validity was sought by sending surveys to randomly selected residents in this rural county. Consequently, representative perceptions were identified and certain generalizations are warranted, at least within surrounding counties, related to a number of essential mental health care issues. Results of the findings were significant at the .05 level. Rural dwellers discounted some transportation issues, stigma, and self-reliance. Accessibility issues were questionable, though contextual elements were examined. Issues related to cost and distrust of outsiders were affirmed. Defmitions of mental health issues from the rural dwellers' perspective were mixed and highlight a significant barrier. Some outreach efforts were found to be favorable while others were not highly endorsed by the population. Approval for psychologists' prescription abilities was found among rural residents with convincing support. The selected county for this survey shares similar characteristics (demographically, economically, and in other respects) with surrounding predominantly rural and frontier counties. The results may be of value to researchers and mental health care professionals in those counties. The template nature of this study produced a valuable means of assessment towards barriers to mental health care among rural residents.
Turlington, Amanda R., "Barriers to Rural Mental Health Care: Perspectives From Those Who Live There" (2008). Faculty Publications - Grad School of Clinical Psychology. 67.