Supply and Distribution of the Behavioral Health Workforce in Rural America
There are large differences in the supply of behavioral health providers available to treat rural residents when compared to their urban counterparts. Nationally, the provider to population ratio of psychiatrists and psychologists in Non-Metro counties is less than half the ratio than in Metropolitan counties. Additionally the supply of social workers, psychiatric nurse practitioners and counselors in rural counties is much lower than urban counties. Non-Core counties have the lowest provider to population ratios for all of the five provider types studied. Seventeen percent of all non-core counties lack any of the behavioral health providers studied.
Eric Larson, PhD
WWAMI Rural Health Research Center