Mental Health in Rural Iowa


Mental Health in Rural Iowa

Mental disorders/health concerns have been recognized as a major rural health priority.

At the least, 50% of the world’s population will be impacted by a mental disorder.

Mental Health…

involves effective functioning in daily activities resulting in

  • Productive activities (work, school, caregiving)
  • Healthy relationships
  • Ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity

Mental Illness…

refers collectively to all diagnosable mental disorders – health conditions involving:

  • Significant changes in thinking, emotion and/or behavior
  • Distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities

Mental health is the foundation for thinking, communication, learning, resilience and self-esteem. Mental health is also key to relationships, personal and emotional well-being and contributing to community or society.

Mental disorders include three major categories of mental illness:

1. Schizophrenia

2. Affective disorders (Example: major depression and manic-depressive illness)

3. Anxiety disorders (panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and phobia)

Anxiety disorders (panic disorder, obsessive-

When compared to other chronic medical conditions/disease, individuals in their teens and mid-twenties see an earlier onset of mental disorders.

When comparing rural and urban use of outpatient mental health services, rural usage is considerably lower.

Rural areas are most lacking in meeting the needs of children afflicted with serious mental health problems because of the relative scarcity of child psychiatrists/specialists.

Having more than one mental disorder is a major risk factor for suicide. A Pertinent example is having major depression combined with alcohol abuse.

Having depression, anxiety, and many other psychosocial factors are contributing to the advancement and outcomes associated with chronic illnesses, like cancer and heart disease.

Physicians who practice in rural areas are playing a larger role in mental health care than their urban colleagues.  This is likely attributed to the shortage of mental health specialists and the stigma-associated reluctance of seeing a mental health professional.

ACHS is making your mental health a priority.  Contact a provider for assistance.

~ David Black, PA-C – Adair County Health System

The information provided on the Adair County Health System’s Blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice and care. If you have specific needs, please see a professional health care provider.

Any references to products, services, or health care providers on this web site are not a recommendation or endorsement of products, services or providers. Links to other Web sites from this site are provided for convenience and do not constitute or imply endorsement.

Effort is taken to insure accurate information, however we cannot guarantee completeness or timeliness.

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