Rural Adults Face Parity Problems and Other Barriers to Appropriate Mental Health Care

Findings suggest that a multi-level approach is essential for meeting the mental health service needs of rural residents.

Key facts include: 8% of rural adults say that they are in "fair" or "poor" mental health versus 6% of urban adults;
Among those using mental health services, rural residents are more likely than urban residents to use medication but not therapy. Practice guidelines for quality mental health treatment recommend that medications be given in combination with therapy;
Both rural and urban adults have greater cost sharing for their mental healthcare than for their total healthcare use. The percentages do not differ by residence; however, rural residents may be at greater risk of forgoing mental healthcare due to costs.
This Research & Policy Brief is based on a longer study by the authors. For more information about this study, please contact Erika Ziller at

Maine Rural Health Research Center
Erika Ziller, Nathaniel Anderson, Andrew Coburn