Why do we serve the rural communities?
Due to lack of accessibility, availability, affordability, and acceptability are the reasons mental healthcare needs are not being met in rural areas.
"Depression is higher in residents of rural areas compared to urban areas."- National Library Of Medicine
Lack Of Transportation
Rural community residents often face struggles accessing essential services such as higher education, healthcare, and grocery stores, among other things.
"While biking and hiking are extremely popular recreational activities, there’s a lack of sidewalks and challenging terrain, discouraging casual riders and pedestrians alike." -Marcela Moreno, 2021 Transportation Justice Fellow
Poverty and Unemployment
The further out into rural areas you go the most likely you will see the poverty levels rise. There are many reasons for this, but one reason is lesser opportunity for employment.
"In 2017, the rural poverty rate stood at 16.4%, with urban poverty at 12.9%. Rural children are also more impacted by poverty, with the rural poverty rate at 22.8% and the urban poverty rate at 17.7%. "
-The Aspen Institute
People experiencing homelessness in rural communities may be living with friends or family, in a car, or in overcrowded or inadequate housing. They are not easily visible. Rural communities also lack shelter and housing options compared to urban areas.
"Limited public transportation, job opportunities, and affordable housing options are additional barriers for rural homelessness." - Rural Health Information Hub
When compared to rates of substance abuse in cities, rural communities have higher rates of alcohol and methamphetamine use, and rates of abuse of other substances are on the rise.
"Per capita, the opioid overdose rate in rural communities is 45% higher than in cities."
-American Addiction Centers
Anonymity and privacy are particularly challenging in rural communities. Because of societal stigma, community members may be embarrassed if friends or family members find out they are seek help. A service provider may be a friend or associate, which also may make an individual reluctant to reach out for help because of the lack of anonymity. Individuals may fear being seen walking into an agency and this fear may deter them from seeking help.
Lack of Resources
Rural communities face challenges related to demographic changes, workforce development, capital access, infrastructure, health, land use and environment and community preservation. Compared to their urban counterparts, rural areas have less internet access, fewer educational institutions, see more hospitals close and experience less economic growth.
"The rural population is decreasing, aging and migratory, and, as a result, these communities present unique challenges in providing quality education with limited resources." - National Conference Of State Legislatives
Less people are living in rural areas, but diversity continues to increase. Unfortunately, when rural areas lack resources and education for diversity support such as culture and language education it can cause someone who is diverse to feel alone and isolated. At the Bluebird 95% of our guests simply lack community.
"Diversity increased in rural America, even as the rural population declined." University of New Hampshire