Rural Missouri sees rise of telepsychiatry for mental health services

Rural Missouri populations that don’t have proper access to mental health services are turning to video conference sessions with psychiatrists and therapists to help meet their needs.

This so-called “telepsychiatry” has taken off in Missouri, where nearly all rural communities lack adequate access to professional who can properly diagnose and medicate mental disorders.

Compass Health Network, who provides the service, facilitated more than 36,000 virtual sessions last year, more than triple the figure they reported just five years ago. Whether treating depression, psychosis, addiction or another disease, the process allows the same level of professional aid that can be found in the doctor’s office.

Mental health intervention in rural areas is especially important considering that the rural rate of the emergency room visits for behavioral disorders is 39 percent higher than the urban rate. The suicide rate for rural people is also over 15 percent higher.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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