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NRHA participates in "The National Mental Health Conference" at the White House

On Monday, June 3, NRHA Vice President of Government Affairs, Maggie Elehwany, participated in The National Mental Health Conference at the White House with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. The Conference was touted as "part of the Administration’s effort to launch a national conversation to increase understanding and awareness about mental health." In addition to NRHA, the conference brought together stakeholders from throughout the country, including mental health advocates, educators, health care providers, faith leaders, members of Congress, representatives from local governments and individuals who have struggled with mental health problems. According to recent studies, rural America is disproportionately impacted by mental health conditions with higher levels of depression, domestic violence, and child abuse than their urban counterparts. Rural residents also face distinct challenges in accessing mental health services including physical, cultural, and financial barriers. As a result, they tend to seek mental health services later, have greater symptoms, and require more intensive treatment. Furthermore, of the 3,800 mental health professional shortage areas in the United States, 85% are located in a rural area. NRHA applauds the Administration's renewed focus on mental health, specifically in rural communities and remains committed to increasing the access to and utilization of mental health services in all rural communities. Two articles in the recent issue of NRHA's quarterly magazine Rural Roads highlight this rural relevant issue.

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