Technology in Rural Behavioral Health Care Practice: Policy Concerns and Solution Suggestions

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There is a history of expectations attached to the use of technology to better facilitate rural behavioral health care service delivery. Clinicians, scholars, and government officials alike have touted the benefits of technology to provide better, more accessible behavioral health care, and often consider it a way to bridge the “geographic divide.” The use of technology is viewed as a response to problems associated with improving consumer contact. Although the use of technology has effectively addressed many service delivery concerns, it continues to fall short of being the overarching remedy to what ails rural behavioral health care needs. Often, challenges associated with the full implementation and utilization of technology into rural behavioral health care is in conflict with state and federal policies and laws. Identifying and responding to these barriers is important to move opportunities for growth forward, but requires more than hope and limited support. There is a need for committed political will matched with focus and desire along with the allocation of adequate resources. Suggestions for policy changes and responses are offered to encourage continued dialogue on this topic.


Social Work

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Journal of Rural Mental Health