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Age in America: Providing mental health care for rural teens

Millions of young children and teens who live in rural communities across America face barriers to health care access, particularly mental health care.
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Posted at 7:21 PM, Jun 18, 2024

This week, in partnership with WorkingNation, Scripps News is investigating the challenges facing younger and older Americans.

Millions of young children and teens who live in rural communities across America face barriers to health care access, particularly mental health care.

Studies have found that teens in rural areas have a higher suicide rate compared to their urban and suburban peers, while simultaneously having access to fewer mental health services.

Rural communities already face a chronic shortage of health care providers, especially mental health providers who specialize in treating kids. There's a shortage nationwide of such specialists, and the poverty and isolation that rural communities often face makes it extremely difficult for them to attract competitive candidates.

The struggle with mental health care is even worse for kids in low-income households and for marginalized communities.

Scripps News speaks with Alan Morgan, the CEO of the National Rural Health Association, about the unique challenges facing rural teens and the ways we can address them.