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Mentalhealth can be described as a degree of psychological welfare orabsence of mental ailment. A mentally stable individual functionssatisfactorily regarding emotions and behavior. The mental illness,therefore, refers to a broad range of mental health states that tendto affect behavior, thinking, and mood. Some examples includeschizophrenia, anxiety issues, eating disorders and depression.According to Mental Health Administration 2012 information, roughly18.7 percent of citizens living in non-metropolitan counties sufferedfrom mental ailments [ CITATION RHI14 l 1033 ].Thoughthe prevalence of the disorder is same across urban and rural areas,there is disparity when it comes to services. Rural regions do notenjoy the same services as compared to the urban areas. Though mostare blamed on the availability of services, affected residents hardlyreport such cases. In urban centers, when one has a mental issue suchas stress, they normally look for assistance at the respective carecenters. Mental issues in rural setting arise due to differentreasons. One major problem is poverty. Poverty contributes to themajority of the mental ailments and affects families extensively.These areas also have limited educational opportunities and highunemployment rates [ CITATION Ame10 l 1033 ].

Inmy center of consideration, the region has roughly 14,000 residents.Homes are sparsely populated with very few centers i.e. shopping andmedical centers among others. The most important agenda within thisarea pertains educating the residents. People ought to know signs ofmedical ailments and there causes. Improvements in the town willgalvanize the surrounding small towns to initiate the program. Thispaper will look to give an outline of mental health issues in ruraltowns and how service delivery is affected. As a social worker, onehas to devise mechanisms of assisting the affected areas. In thatregard, countering the current challenges will be a majorundertaking. Applying the knowledge and skills gained in social work,mental health issues in this small town, as well as surroundingregions, will be alleviated.

Mentalhealth issues in the rural community

Policiesgoverning mental ailments are quite diverse. Apart from policies,funding and reforms are vital mental health issues. Implementation ofpolicies within the rural setup is quite intricate owing to thevarious challenges. A rational policy is supposed to give the generaldirection for mental health. It defines the vision, objectives,principles, and values establishing a wide model for action. Ingeneral, therefore, mental policies govern the finances,coordination, advocacy, quality improvement, and research andorganization services among others. It is also crucial to follow up apolicy with effective action plans [ CITATION DrM10 l 1033 ].

The2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity (MHPAE) is one suchpolicy trying to achieve equity. The policy ensures financialrequirements, as well as treatment limitations, are well addressed.In other words, the benefits are not restrictive [CITATION Uni08 l 1033 ].Even with the inception of this policy, mental issues across ruralregions continue to grow. Finances are not equally distributed asanticipated. The small towns get little to no attention when it comesto disbursement of funds. The policy also applies to employers bothin the public and private sectors having over 50 employees. Residentsof small towns are mainly self-employed and find themselves lockedout of these funds. It does not serve them well. In areas whereemployees exceed the set number, residents have little to no idea thefunds exist. Most of them are deeply rooted in poverty lacking theproper education to follow up what is rightly theirs.

TheExcellence in Mental Health Act develops a criterion for certifiedcollective behavior health clinics. It serves persons with severemental illness to ensure enough services are given to them. Normally,community healthcare facilities receive limited funds. The act seeksto achieve equity when it comes to funding community base mentalhealth care facilities. As evidenced by research, mental healthissues are rather the same in urban and rural areas. The act alsocategorizes the kind of care serious patients should get. In otherwords, what kind of care is accorded, particular patients? Reformingthe rural areas begins with alteration of stringent policiesrestricting funds in small towns. Community health care facilitiesare mainly found in rural areas, thereby limiting funds to suchinstitutions restricts residents living there.

Healthcare practitioners are also mostly located in urban areas. Ruralregions are deprived off enough service providers. Since mostpractitioners are based in urban centers, funds are directed to theseurban healthcare facilities more than the rural ones. Reformation ofrules will most definitely solve such issues. For instance in acommunity of 14,000 people, getting a well-funded health facilityespecially dealing with mental issues is quite hard. Patients resortto seeking medical attention from cities. In this case, a five-hourjourney to the nearest city to seek medical attention is the onlymeans of preventing serious mental ailments. Some patients who havemental disorders that are not severe find it hard traveling to citiesin search of attention. The residents do not know the extent by whichmental disorder can be measured. Stress, anxiety issues and eatingdisorders are sometimes viewed as small issues that do not requireattention from practitioners. However, ignoring such cases escalatesto severe effects and may result in death.


Valuesare the integral portion for ethical and moral actions in socialwork. Values influence the kind of decisions, choices, understandingsituations and relations with clients. In addition to that, valuesare inclusive in almost all facets of welfare work such as researchand policy. To achieve proper social work, one ought to revisit thevalues in place. Some of the values in which this particular worklooks to uphold include accountability, ethical codes, socialjustice, competence, awareness of ethical dilemmas, commitment toprofessional development and consciousness of personal values [ CITATION Joe14 l 1033 ].

Accountabilityis a core value that can be rightly linked with integrity andtransparency. As a social worker, this value is quite fundamental.Indulging in fishy practices that tend to deter progress cannot becondoned [ CITATION Aud08 l 1033 ].For instance, if funds are provided for expansion or building ofmental facilities within the small town, they should be used in atransparent manner. Individuals concerned with the funds should beable to account for each and every coin. In the small town inconsideration, funds are required move across several pointseducating the people on health matters. Traversing through apopulation of 14,000 needs dedication. Above all, if the exercisedoes not have responsible individuals, it may falter before reachingall the needy people. As a social worker, anti-oppressive andanti-discriminatory norms should be part of us. Some rural towns aredeprived of mental facilities due to the unaccountability acts ofpeople in charge.

Anethical code is another significant value for any social worker. TheNational Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics governsthe daily professional behavior of social workers. The ethical codehas four sections i.e. preamble, purpose, ethical principles, andethical standards. As a social worker, always strive to achieve whatis morally sound. The value also plays a huge role in decidingethical dilemmas. At this particular town, social workers should beready to indulge the patients in lengthy and worthy talks [ CITATION NAS16 l 1033 ].As entailed in the ethics code, privacy is vital. It is uncouth toshare secret information about a patient unless it is the only way ofhelping out. In a population of 14,000, it is quite normal to finddifferent people being affected by different issues. For instance,some have relationship issues among their families, poverty, limitededucation, and sickness among others. Such patients likeconfidentiality of their personal information. As a social worker,one ought to adhere to such a value. Cutting across the various smalltowns also requires quite a confidential mind. It may serve toprevent dislike between the involved towns [ CITATION Mar06 l 1033 ].

Realizingthe above values will help one understand the people in need. Forinstance, understanding the people’s lifestyle can help ascertainthe issues causing mental illness. Why are people stressed? How arethey relieving their stress? How many times they visit counselingcenters? Among others.

Socialwork knowledge is another fundamental component of practiceframework. A social worker should appreciate human diversity. Byappreciating diversity, one serves every person needing assistanceappropriately, regardless of the individual’s gender, sexualorientation, religious affliction, race, class, age, and disabilityamong others. Social workers should not impose their personal beliefson their clients. In that regard, while administering to the peoplewithin this small town, caution must be taken not to scare them away.The surrounding towns are also diverse in numerous aspects. Each townwill be handled by their mode of operation to avoid conflicts. Inrural areas, people are faced with certain beliefs that are notwidely shared across urban centers. As a social worker, treating theresidents following their lifestyle will be crucial. Otherwise, thepopulation might not accept the teachings on mental illness.Sometimes social workers treat rural residents in an inappropriatemanner. As entailed in the ethics code, once a social worker’sbehavior interferes with his/her professionalism, he/she shouldchange or take time off. To capture the 14,000 individuals withinthis small town, knowledge on their way of life is mandatory. It willhelp in associating with the residents effectively [ CITATION Vic07 l 1033 ].

Socialwork skills are quite diverse. Since the target is educating all the14,000 individuals within the town and creating a link among thesurrounding towns, adequate social work skills have to be put inplace. Instead of taking a five-hour journey to the city in search ofmental facilities or counseling centers, the skills can be harmonizedto erect several stations within the area. A social worker must beable to engage the residents, assess them, plan, implement andevaluate the whole process. Engaging the residents can be in groupsor at an individual level. A social worker must have good listeningskills, leadership, administrative, empathy and critical thinkingamong others. The main agenda is to ensure equitable allocation offunds and proper dissemination of service to the entire population.Handling mentally challenged patients may seem quite intricate if notwell handled. They might be violent, and if a social worker is notskilled enough, he/she can be injured in the line of duty.

Servicedelivery models

Thedelivery model will commission the whole system. In other words, themodel offers social and health care management for each personexperiencing psychological disorders. An all incorporative modelensures all the patients are catered. As mentioned in the valuesabove, accountability will be highly regarded to ensure transparentservice delivery. Commissioning an all incorporative service modelwill bring together the small towns. For instance, constructing amental health facility that is well equipped in one of the smalltowns to avoid journeying for five hours to get mental healthservices [ CITATION Car10 l 1033 ].

Enhancingtelephone services is also vital. As a social worker, the valuesdictate that one has to have personal contacts with the patients.Enhancing an effective telephone service to offer support to themental health patients. Numbers will be offered so that when apatient needs a service, it is easily accessible. Most of theresidents within the small town find it hard to move around lookingfor services. The inception of a working telephone service willenhance communication between the needy and the health practitioners[ CITATION Kim12 l 1033 ].

Effectiveservice delivery calls for additional centers offering psychologicalhelp. In a population of 14,000, it would require up to about 20 to50 centers. Bringing the services closer to the residents andoffering them adequate education may lessen the cases mentaldisorders. Apart from that, one huge center could be constructed inone of the towns to serve the surrounding small towns. All thepatients will also have a joint crisis plan. The plans includeidentification of early signs of imminent crisis and how to handlethem. As a social worker, one must teach the patients on how to dealwith an impending mental issue [ CITATION Neu14 l 1033 ].


Onemajor setback is the location of mental health practitioners. Most ofthem settle in urban areas. The percentage of mental health providerssettling in rural areas is significantly low. In that regard,expanding the centers offering services may be quite hard in thesmall town [ CITATION And13 l 1033 ].

Cooperationfrom the residents is another limitation. There is a tendency inrural regions to ignore the mental crisis. For example, one might beexperiencing a stressful moment but is not willing to share withothers especially health practitioners. Research studies indicatethat suicide cases are high in rural areas. Since most of them desistfrom seeking medical attention, they resort to committing suicide asan easier escape.

Fundsmight also pose a huge challenge. Channeling funds towards ruralmental health services may prove to be hard especially since most ofthe practitioners are reluctant to migrate to the area.


Socialwork is an important facet within our communities. Having adequateknowledge of the same is also vital since needy cases are continuallyincreasing. As per current studies, rural areas receive limitedfunds, especially in health matters. For instance, service deliverycaring for mentally sick individuals is quite limited. Cases ofmentally unstable people are the same for urban and rural areas.However, there is disparity when it comes to funding which isseemingly unfair. Offering the service to 14,000 people is quitehectic but noble. Though the challenges are also concrete, offeringthe service could save many people.


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