- Diane Powers, MA, MBA, Co-Director, University of Washington AIMS Center, Seattle, WA
- Sarah Acosta-Smith, ND, Primary Care Provider, Family Health Centers, Brewster, WA
- Auren O'Connell, DNP, PMHNP-BC, Psychiatric Consultant, Kittitas Valley Healthcare, Cle Elum, WA
- Martha Svoboda, LMHC, Independent Mental Health & Wellness Provider, Mason Health, Shelton, WA
Residents of rural areas experience mental health conditions at the same rate as their urban and suburban counterparts but experience significant disparities in access to mental health treatment and quality of care. While the overall suicide rate increased 41% from 1999 to 2016, rural areas experienced the most rapid growth. Primary care is the most common mental health delivery setting in all areas but that is especially true for rural areas. Rural areas have the greatest shortage of mental health providers, making it especially important that these providers are leveraged for the largest population effect. Research evidence shows that Collaborative Care can eliminate disparities in treatment outcomes for rural residents. Providers from 3 rural primary care clinics participating in an initiative focused on implementing Collaborative Care in rural areas will share their experiences, including implementation challenges they faced and the strategies they used to address these. Sarah Acosta-Smith is a naturopathic physician who works as a primary care provider and PCP champion at Family Health Centers in Brewster, WA. Chelsea Matz is a behavioral health care manager practicing at NEW Health in Colville, WA. Auren O’Connell is a psychiatric nurse practitioner who works as a psychiatric consultant at Kittitas Valley Health Care in Cle Elum, WA. They will each share their perspectives as rural healthcare professionals working in a Collaborative Care team that serves a large proportion of patients with significant social determinants of health.
- Describe the mental health disparities faced by residents of rural areas
- Understand the perspectives of rural healthcare providers working in a Collaborative Care program
- Describe the challenges and solutions these providers encountered when implementing Collaborative Care