Author Affiliation

Department of Social Work, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Document Type

Policy Advocacy Brief

Publication Date


Issue Statement/Executive Summary

Approximately 8 million Americans 65 years of age and older have mental health disorders. It is estimated that these numbers could reach 14.4 million by 2030. Minnesotans turning 65 in this decade (about 285,000) will be greater than the past four decades combined (Aging: MN State Demographic Center, 2018). Anxiety and depression are two of the more common mental health disorders in older adults and are associated with severe consequences, including life dissatisfaction, illness, and mortality. With this growth comes many barriers. The rural mental health system is not equipped to address this growth. The system is underfunded, largely uncoordinated, and often unreliable, and, at times, unsafe (Helman, 2016, para. 13).


Social Work



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