Enhancing Staffing in Rural Community Health Centers Can Help Improve Behavioral Health Care

Authors: Xinxin Han, PhD | Leighton Ku, PhD, MPH

Topics: Behavioral Health, Community Health Centers, Rural Health

Research Center: GW Health Workforce Research Center

December 2, 2019

Community health centers are a vital part of the primary and behavioral health care systems in rural areas.

This article compares the staffing and services at these centers in both rural and urban communities. Findings show that behavioral health staff currently participating in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) contributed more to visits for depression and anxiety in rural centers, compared to both their urban counterparts and non-NHSC staff in rural centers. Enhancing behavioral health staffing in rural community health centers could help reduce the urban-rural gap in the availability of behavioral health services, but still more could be done.

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